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Is Your Child a Picky Eater?

This has been reproduced with permission. Copyright remains with the Family Resiliency Centre, University of Illinois.

A Child Who is a Picky Eater or Fussy Eater - Why Does it Matter?

Why doesit matter?
Picky eating behaviors have been identified by families as a
major barrierto having regularshared familymealtimes.
Parentsserve asimportantrolemodelsin helping children
develop healthy eating habits. Thisis especially important as
food preferences are formed early and remain stable
throughout childhood.
Tipsfor Parents:
 Try new foods yourself ‐ parents and other adultsserve as
important healthy role‐modelsfor children.
 Help kids get out of a food rut by encouraging and offering
new foods on a regular basis.
 Children need early and repeated exposuresto healthy foods.
 It can take children up to ten timesto accept a new food.
 Offer a wide variety of healthy foods.
 Try offering food served in different ways or cut up into
differentshapes.
 Let children help select new fruits and vegetables atthe
grocery store.
 Make healthy food accessible – have itstored in your
cupboard and serve it atthe table.
 Turn offthe TV ‐ parentsserve asimportant gatekeepersto
help children avoid unhealthymediamessages.
 Avoid using threats, pressure or bribesto get your child to
eat.
 Help your child learn to recognize when they are hungry or
when they are full.
 Keep portion sizes appropriate to the age of your child.

Having a child (baby, toddler or older)  who is a picky eater has been identified by families as a major barrier to having regular shared family mealtimes. Parents serve as important role modelsin helping children develop healthy eating habits. This is especially important as food preferences are formed early and remain stable throughout childhood.

Tips for Parents Feeding Children Who Are Picky Eaters or Fussy Eaters

Obviously these tips need to be modified according to the age of your child but many of them apply to baby or a toddler as much as they apply to an older child. Be creative but stick to these principles to increase your chances of success.

  • Try new foods yourself ‐ parents and other adults serve as important healthy role‐models for children.
  • Help kids get out of a food rut by encouraging and offering new foods on a regular basis.
  • Children need early and repeated exposures to healthy foods.
  • It can take children up to ten times to accept a new food.
  • Offer a wide variety of healthy foods.
  • Try offering food served in different ways or cut up into different shapes.
  • Let children help select new fruits and vegetables at the grocery store.
  • Make healthy food accessible – have it stored in your cupboard and serve it at the table.
  • Turn off the TV ‐ parents serve as important gatekeepers to help children avoid unhealthy media messages.
  • Avoid using threats, pressure or bribes to get your child toeat.
  • Help your child learn to recognise when they are hungry orwhen they are full.
  • Keep portion sizes appropriate to the age of your child.

From Mealtime Minutes

image Flickr jasonunbound