Healthy Children - October 2018

Tips for a "Choosy" Eater

“Choosy” eating is common among preschoolers. Your child may eat only certain types of foods. He or she may play at the table and not want to eat. Don’t worry. As long as your child has energy and is growing, he or she is most likely eating enough.

How to Cope with a “Choosy” Eater

  1. Consider what your child eats over several days. Most children eat more variety throughout the week than in 1 day.
  2. Trust your child’s appetite. Don’t force him or her to eat everything on the plate. Making a child eat when he or she is not hungry may encourage overeating.
  3. Set reasonable time limits for the start and end of a meal. Remove the plate quietly. What is reasonable depends on your child.
  4. Stay positive. Avoid calling your child a “picky eater.” Children believe what you say. 
  5. Offer healthy choices for your child to choose from. For example, “ Would you like broccoli or carrots for dinner?”

Ways to Encourage Your Child to Try New Foods

  1. Offer one new food at a time. Start small. Let your child try small portions of new foods.
  2. Offer new foods first. Your child is most hungry at the start of a meal.
  3. Cook and garden together. These activities make new fruits and vegetables, fun.
  4. Be a good role model. Try new foods yourself. Describe the taste, texture, and smell. 
  5. Be patient, new foods take time. It may take 10 or more tries for a child to accept a new food.