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Picky Eater Advice

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Parents who of toddlers have probably experienced a problem at the dinner table: their children are picky eaters. While the parents prefer their child eat their carrots and broccoli, the children instead demand a diet of chicken nuggets and french fries. Dinner time doesn’t always have to be a battle. Here are a few tips to handling your picky eater:

  • Establish a routine: Some parents want their children to eat at a certain time, and the child responds “I’m not hungry.” It’s best to establish a routine so that the child can be used to eating at a certain time. If you’re around for breakfast time, make sure they have breakfast at the same time, including weekends. If lunch time at school is at 12pm, include that same lunch time when the child is at home. Try your best to have them eat dinner at the same place and at the same time as well.
  • Make it fun: Some kids think that meal time can be so boring, so why not make it fun? Maybe you’ll have them help you cook lunch, so they feel special about what they made. Include “yucky” foods with some of their favorites. Give creative names for vegetables and make the plate with great presentation. You’d be surprised how that can influence the child in eating food they usually ignore.
  • Minimize distractions: Sometimes there’s just too much stimulation going on for kids to even focus on eating. If there’s a TV on, turn it off. If they’re eating in the room, maybe move it to the dining room table. Make food the main focus and reduce the temptations around them.
  • Change the delivery: Have a child who hates vegetables? You can make them love it by delivering it in a different way. Juicing or making smoothies can be a tasty alternative, and something your child looks forward to. Maybe the serving sizes are too large, so you could cut them up. Add additional flavors like dressings and dips to improve the taste of the foods they don’t enjoy. The way you present it can change the way they think about it.
  • Set a good example: A lot of parents don’t give kids enough credit. You can’t expect your child to eat healthy while you’re eating fast food in front of them. It’s not fair, and they’ll voice that opinion. If there’s something you want your child to eat, show them how much you enjoy it when you eat it. It’s funny how children want to try something their parents are having.
  • No special treatment: If your child refuses to eat what the rest of the family is eating, that’s not the green light to make them what they’re asking for. Don’t make special meals, which doubles your workload. Also, do not bribe them with desserts.
  • Remember their belly size: When children tell you they’re not hungry, there’s a chance that it’s true. Their stomachs are not the same size as an adult’s, so they get full a lot faster than we do. Reduce the amount of food they’re expected to eat during meal times, and you’re reduce the amount of wasted food.

Most children grow out of picky eating in a few years. Try not to overwhelm them with too many new foods. When you find a healthy food that they like, definitely try to incorporate it more.

Still picky? You could try adding Pediasure as a nutritional supplement, NOT as a meal substitute to your child’s diet. Also different tasty vitamins are available to children over the counter: Gummy vites and Flinstones.

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Since my kids were born (they are 8 yrs old),we have never had anyone give us as much help or time as Dr. Ahdoot has given us. She is the kind of doctor who takes a personal interest in each patient. She was always available and made sure my kids were well taken care of... read more read more

Dr. Dafna Ahdoot has recently joined the Practice at Tarzana Pediatric Medical Group and I'm so glad she is there. She has been helping with my two kids who have reactive airway disease and communicating with me by phone and email. I feel taken care of... read more read more