Do you have a picky eater? So do tons of other moms. So what can we do about it?
Here are 10 things that work - they really work! YIPPEE! If you can come up with more - let me know!
1. Healthy snacks count. Encourage healthy snacks throughout the day and try to time them so that they are not served close to meal times.
2. Limit juice and milk. Juice fills up tummies and the kids do not feel hungry. Nevertheless, they end up whining that they are starving anywhere from one to two hours later -- and they really are. This is especially true of toddlers whose tummies are only as big as your hand made into a fist. While milk is good for kids, it can fill them up quicker than expected. Serving caffeine? Don't. It has nothing but empty calories and tons of sugar not to mention the hyper activity it can induce.
3. Give children small portions of table food that the rest of the family is eating during mealtime. If they are not allergic to a food you are serving, encourage them to at least have a small taste. This is known as a "thank you" bite.
4. Don't use desserts as a reward. This can cause a dependency on sweets not to mention weight gain and bad eating expectations.
5. Try to stay calm. Do not scream, holler or yell if your child does not eat what you think he should. Did you know that if you make meal time a stressful event that your child will associate it as a negative endeavor in the life of a family?
6. Have fun with shapes of the food. This will spark new interest. For example, shape sandwiches into sailboats and made the sails out of turkey or chicken.
7. Make up a story. Try wheat crackers with tiny marshmallows and raisins smashed into the crackers on a yellow plate. Pretend to be Big Bird and peck the meal along with your child. Remember, kids live by Monkey See and Monkey Do rules.
8. Serve peanut butter on rice cakes. Rice cakes now come in all types of flavors. Find out which one your kids like the best and let them have a little peanut butter on it. Substitute another nutritious "spread" if he is allergic to peanut butter.
9. Shape the food with cookie cutters. Buy different shapes of cookie utters to cut designs in cheese or cold cuts.
10. Get creative with the eating utensils. Try measuring spoons or chopsticks.
- Jodie Lynn
Jodie is an internationally syndicated parenting/family columnist.