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A Heart For Home: Feeding Picky Eaters {TIPsters}

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Feeding Picky Eaters {TIPsters}

Make sure you visit Kristin & Christy for their thoughts on today’s topic, as well as our guest TIPster, Mindy @ Sweetness in the Small Stuff.

Feeding Picky Eaters

Let me just start with a disclaimer, okay?
Most people would not consider any of our kids picky eaters. However, we have experienced seasons when our kids displayed picky behaviors, so we do have a little experience.
Here are our Top Ten suggestions for feeding picky eaters:
1. Try to build your meal plan around the healthy foods they will actually eat. Everyone likes to feel that their opinions matter, including your kids. Give them a say by having them list all of the foods they do like. Then try to incorporate tried and true favorites along with new foods.
2. Get your kids involved in preparing meals. Our kids all love to help in the kitchen! And taste testing is a great way to let your kids try new foods in a non-confrontational way.
3. Make mealtime fun. Sit down together and give your kids your attention. Talk about their day and enjoy your time together. (Young kids also love pretending they are animals as they gobble down their food; chew your carrot like a rabbit, eat your meat like a T-Rex, you get the point.)

4. Offer variety, but don’t fix separate foods for your child. You are not a short order cook, but kids will continue to do what works for them. If you’ve catered to their demands in the past it’ll take a while to convince them that you’ve changed your ways—wait them out. Eventually, they’ll eat (more of) what’s offered.
5. Have them eat the less desirable foods first. Our children will generally all eat a green salad, but I don’t know many children that would choose a salad over pasta. So, the whole family eats our salads first, before the pasta is even brought to the table. As a bonus it also feels like we’re having a fancy meal :)
6. Help them eat it. This rule only really applies to toddlers, but we’ve found that many times when our toddlers have refused to eat a certain food, a little extra attention and help from Mom or Dad was all it took to get the food in their mouth.
7. Realize that your child will eat when they are hungry. I think, for the most part, children are very aware of their own need for food and will eventually eat when they are hungry. On occasion we have sent children away from the table hungry, but it’s only happened a handful of times and our kids have always been ready to eat what was prepared at the next meal.
8. Don’t give snacks if they haven’t eaten what’s offered. This goes along with the last point, but really, if I knew I could skip the peas but still have cookies after dinner, I’d probably do it, too. This also goes for healthy snacks.
9. Set an expectation of what they will eat—and stick to it! Decide with your spouse or with your child what they will need to eat at each meal. This may be a certain number of bites, trying everything offered, or eating a serving of at least one vegetable, whatever it is, set up your expectations and then stick to them. This Dinner Adventure Sticker Chart might be a good place to start if you’re dealing with a really picky child.
10. Present new foods several times. Children will often “dislike” a food simply because it’s new. Keep offering it until you’re convinced they simply don’t like it. Then come back to it after a while to see if their tastes have changed.
linking to Top Ten Tuesday...and check out all the other blog parties we like to join

Today's Questions: What tips do you have for feeding picky eaters?
(Any advice for kids with the opposite problem, who eat everything in site, even three-day old crumbs out of their little sister’s booster seat or peanut butter off of their sibling’s face?)

A Heart for Home

Please visit my fellow TIPsters:
and our guest TIPster,  Mindy @ Sweetness in the Small Stuff 
for more tools, tips, and tricks of the trade.

Coming Soon:
June 19: Television Viewing (What & How Often)
July 3: Quick and Easy Summer Meals
July 17: Taking Family Photos

August 7: Schooling Kids of Different Ages
August 21: Teaching Kids to Read

(Remember if you'd like to guest host an upcoming TIPster post, just let me know.)


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Blogger Rebecca said...

LOVE your list - we need to encourage our children to eat various foods and not be rude when they face something they do not like! LOVE yourpost!

June 5, 2012 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger Mindy said...

I like your idea about getting kids involved in preparing the food which will be served. I really struggle with that, though - control in the kitchen. It's an ongoing process for me...

June 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I know you said that you only "help" toddlers eat, but we've found that if at least put a few bites for Owen on his fork, he is more able to take a brave bite. Something about having to dish it up for himself is scary, I guess. :-)

June 5, 2012 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi, I really like #5. I feed my kids veggies first and they have learned to love veggies. Everything tastes better when you are hungry, that is why I like to feed them to my kids first. I even wrote a post about it! These are all great tips. I am stopping by from Work for me Wednesday. Hope to see you at True Aim. Thanks for sharing.

June 5, 2012 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Etcetorize said...

Great tips! Wish my mom had seen this when I was a kid. I was a super duper picky eater and have gotten a tiny bit better as an adult, but not much. Once you're stuck in that rut, it's there for life~

June 6, 2012 at 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Becca said...

Great list! I have had good luck with all of these except #7/#8. My son, like me, gets light-headed and panicked when he's hungry. We can say, "This is what is for dinner." and refuse to fix him anything else while parents are eating; that sometimes convinces him to eat more of the food. But if he won't, making him go without any food at all for hours when he's hungry will get him into a crazy state where he's very hard to manage! So after dinner we'll offer leftovers or a healthy, easy snack like nuts.

My son likes to pretend he is working in a restaurant, and I find that he eats better and suggests more innovative menus when he's doing that.

June 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Cathie said...

Loved your #10. I see children trying new foods when they are exposed to them several times. So, don't give up! Come on over to or and enjoy some sprinkles of early childhood fun.

June 9, 2012 at 10:38 PM  
Anonymous The Mommist said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing. My eldest is a picky eater and these tips will surely help a lot. :)

June 10, 2012 at 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may seem funny, but when I make food that I know my child may refuse to eat, I will simply not offer him food at all. Once he realizes that I'm eating, he will ask for a bite. After one bite, he usually will ask for his own serving! Kind of that reverse psychology working in a mother's favor!

September 25, 2012 at 1:01 AM  

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