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Tips for Children who are Picky Eaters

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Elizabeth Moreira, RD, CLE, Pediatrics & Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Tips for Children who are Picky Eaters

Picky eating behavior is when a child eats only a certain type of food or refuses foods based on certain colors or textures. For example, the child refuses to eat anything other than chicken nuggets or would rather play than eat anything at all. This behavior is common for many children from 2-5 years old. If you have concerns about your child’s growth and eating behavior, talk to your child’s doctor. They may refer him or her to see a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.

Here are some helpful tips for the picky eating children:

  • Assess your child’s appetite: if your child is not hungry, don’t force a meal or snack. Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child.
  • Stock up on healthy food options: buy fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products
  • Limit junk food in your house: cut down on foods high in fat and added sugar that you bring home, when possible.
  • Establish a meal time routine: serve meals and snacks at about the same time every day.
  • Don’t be a short order cook: don’t prepare a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original food. Try not to offer dessert as a reward.
  • Make meal time fun: cut veggies and fruits into various small shapes with cookie cutters and serve with favorite dip or sauce.
  • Recruit your child’s help: at the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and healthy foods. At home, have your child prepare and serve meals with you.
  • Be creative: add chopped vegetables to spaghetti sauce, casseroles and soups.
  • Set a good example: if you eat healthy foods, your child is likely to follow suit.
  • Minimize distractions: turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals.