Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Parenting the Picky Eater - How to Help Your Child Eat Healthy Meals

April 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 143

If you are a parent you have probably struggled at some point with a child that doesn't want to eat. It is an incredibly frustrating experience that prompts a lot of questions. Will my child grow properly? Why is this happening to my child? And what can I do about it?

Children are fussy eaters for a variety of reasons. A certain amount of this fussiness is normal toddler behavior. One day they may eat a lot, another day they may just poke and prod at their food and eat very little. If your child's picky eating seems extreme you may want to consult with your pediatrician to rule out any medical issues. Ask yourself if there is any additional stress in the home that may be contributing to the problem. Also consider your own nutrition and approach to food. Are you doing all that you can to cook, prepare and eat nutritious meals with the whole family?

When kids resist eating, it is easy for power struggles to ensue. I recommend treading lightly and trying to avoid these battles around food. If your child doesn't want to eat, there is no good way to force the issue. You can try, but things may get much worse. Making progress is more a matter of using persuasion, coaxing, finding non-coercive strategies and modeling how to eat well.

To reduce the tension, I try to have a nonchalant approach to food with kids. I go out of my way to avoid struggles and battles. In fact I want them to feel that they are in control of how much they eat and what they choose, which is empowering. An important goal is to have children eat what is being served at the table. If the tone is relaxed and everyone is savoring the food and enjoying the conversation, kids are more apt to follow. If your child is not eating one night, assume they will eat the next.

One way to reduce struggles and also model healthy food habits is to think carefully about what you keep in the home. If there is no junk food around you don't have to worry about limiting how much they eat and having to say no all of the time. You can give your child almost everything that is in the house, because it is all healthy.

But what can you do if your child is super picky?

Here are some ideas to try:

1. Eat meals together as a family. Modeling a love of good, nutritious food is the most effective way to teach healthy eating habits. Make meals a special time to be together. Enjoy the conversation.

2. Cook together. Involving your child in the preparation and cooking of food helps foster curiosity. Let your child taste, stir, mix and explain what you are doing as you cook your meals. Or set up your child's play kitchen alongside the real one to cook pretend food.

3. Avoid power struggles. Try to keep the tone at the table positive, light and worry-free. You may want to overlook some of the negative behaviors. Let your child decide if he wants to eat or not eat.

4. Keep an open mind. You will be surprised what your child will eat. Don't have preconceived ideas of what your child will have. Serve a wide variety of food every day with the expectation that it will be eaten. If it's not eaten today, perhaps tomorrow. You just never know.

5. Make eating fun, creative, playful and entertaining. Serve foods that have interesting shapes and colors. Put candles at the table. Use interesting paper plates. Tell stories. The possibilities are endless, so do what will intrigue and capture your child's imagination.

6. Have some food items on the plate that serve as an appetizer that you know your child will eat. But also put the rest of the meal beside it with the expectation that it will be eaten as well.

Remember, stay relaxed, enjoy the process, and have faith that your child will embrace a wider range of healthy food. Good luck.

Andrew McGowan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Santa Barbara, California. You can read more of his articles at

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Child Eat Healthy


Picky Eater





Since time immemorial unscrupulous folk have existed. The world continues to see them and they would continue to exist to the end of the world. The best you could do is sensitizing yourself to detect

By: Zuneaoy l Home & Family > Crafts Supplies l December 11, 2012 lViews: 582

What does it take to find the best prices and greatest selection when searching for jewelry supplies? Because jewelry making has become such a popular hobby, there is no shortage of locations where

By: Zuneaoy l Home & Family > Crafts Hobbies l December 11, 2012 lViews: 250

You can purchase the same thing online for a much cheaper price. Now, granted, you may find that some beads and snake bracelets are just as expensive as at the store, but you will find that online

By: Zuneaoy l Home & Family > Crafts Supplies l December 07, 2012 lViews: 331

Arborist is simply called as the nature maker in the words of a poet. They really make your garden clean, healthy and tidy. When you are having tress at your place it is necessary to check them up or

By: noragwilt l Home & Family > Gardening l November 20, 2012 lViews: 313

To make sure you gain true protection, it is of paramount importance that these covers ought to be durable and strong. To make sure you gain true protection, it is of paramount importance that these

By: Simon Liva l Home & Family > Entertaining l November 16, 2012 lViews: 271

If you wish to throw a birthday celebration party, you should have a lot of money. A number of people think that if perhaps they cannot dedicate such a lot money for the celebration, it won’t

By: jhoel mojokuvic l Home & Family > Entertaining l November 12, 2012 lViews: 287

I recently wrote about what we know from research about the negative effects of too much media exposure for children. That leaves families with the question of what to do about it in their own homes.

By: Dr Carolyn Stonel Home & Family > Parentingl June 15, 2012 lViews: 209

Doctors may advise parents that bedwetting up to the age of five or six may still be considered as normal. However, there are a few cases when some kids do not simply outgrow their bedwetting

By: David Hearnsl Home & Family > Parentingl June 14, 2012 lViews: 165

Have you ever thought of making an everlasting difference in the life of a child who is in need? Becoming a foster carer is one way to accomplish exactly that. It goes without saying that the job is

By: Steve Hilll Home & Family > Parentingl June 14, 2012 lViews: 169

We mentioned six components which must be evident in our family relationships in order to promote family unity. These components are the keys to correcting failures, and instituting a powerful

By: Ezechiel Bambolo, Jrl Home & Family > Parentingl June 13, 2012 lViews: 158

It is common for parents of teenagers to become frustrated and embarrassed by their teenager's appearance. This article offers some tips for parents who are concerned, frustrated or just unsure what

By: Karen Vincentl Home & Family > Parentingl June 12, 2012 lViews: 189

Listening seems like a very basic skill but following these tips can make a difference with teenagers and can significatnly improve your relationship with your teen. This article provides specific

By: Karen Vincentl Home & Family > Parentingl June 12, 2012 lViews: 222

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus