It’s dinner time and I’m standing in the kitchen. The creative cooking engine in my brain has popped into neutral. As I idle there, I envision a certain child of mine slowly strolling to the table. I imagine the delicious, nutritious meal laid out all colorful and enticing. Did I mention it was prepared with love? As my mind continues to wander, I can almost hear her utter those wonderful words of appreciation all Moms look forward to ... ”Do I have to eat that! There’s nothing I like!”
I snap back to reality. Still in the kitchen. I’m in gear now, but my first creative idea is to chuck a skillet through the window. I take a nice, deep, relaxing breath. That’s better.
Picky eaters. Gotta love ‘em.
Tips to Help Your Picky Eater Eat Better:
1. Don’t over react. Keep your attitude calm and relaxed. A stressful family meal experience is a recipe for indigestion!
2. Encourage manners and respect. No bad mouthing a food. No “yuk”, making faces, or whining. Politely saying, “No, thank you”, is acceptable.
3. Offer a variety of foods. I ask her to eat a minimum of three foods before leaving the table. Occasionally, I allow her to go get a food that’s not offered at the table, such as a banana or a yogurt. Remember, you are not a short order cook.
4. Don’t force food. “Eat this or else!” is a tempting but empty threat and usually fails, big time. My job is to make good food available, hers is to eat it.
5. Periodically encourage her to try something new. Also, a food that was once rejected might be accepted now. As her palate matures she could grow to like those sweet potatoes after all.
6. Every small step she makes towards healthier eating counts. Thumbs up for being that persistent food coach!