By: Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC
Picky eating often begins early in life for our kids and is often one of the top concerns reported in our practice. It’s not about perfection, it’s about creating a love of food and how it fuels our mental and physical health.
Healthy eating habits start at home. With a few changes and persistence, we help patients go from eating chicken nuggets and white pasta meals to filling their plates with more colorful fruits and vegetables.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for picky eaters:
#1 Lead by example. If you want your children to add more colorful and healthy foods to their plate, then you must eat them too. Help them understand why it’s important to eat healthy. “Because we want to feel good and have energy.”
#2 Make food FUN and Accessible. We eat with our eyes so access and presentation are key. For example, put healthy food at eye level in the refrigerator or create a vegetable tray and set it out on the counter. Cut food into fun shapes or arrange the snacks in a mini muffin tin for something different.
#3 Timed Snacking. Endless snacking does not allow time for kids to get hungry and eat what is prepared for meals. One idea to help guide snack choices is to set out the veggie/fruit tray at designated snack times and “close” the kitchen soon after. If you prefer them to choose their snacks, a great rule is to pick something from the fridge before the pantry.
These are just a few tips to help you get started with creating more colorful plates that your kids will want to eat. Our pediatric team has experience and more ideas to handle the pickiest eaters. Every child is different and learns to eat new foods and make healthy changes at a different pace. With a little persistence, patience, and fun, positive changes can happen.
Contact our office for an appointment to get started with our Pediatric Team