Pathways to Wellness

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Picky eaters

It's pretty normal for young children to go through stages when they only want to eat certain foods, turn up their nose to other foods, or are not very interested in eating at all.  Sometimes choosing their own food is their way of showing off their growing independence!   Don't worry whether they are eating a balanced diet everyday as long as they are eating well over a few days.  If your child's height and weight is on track, things are probably fine.

To make it easier for children to try new foods and expand their tastes:

  • Every meal should have at least one food you know your child likes.  Introduce one new food at a time.  Introducing kale, quinoa, and tofu at the same time is probably a stretch for many people - at all ages!  And some of us will never learn to like mashed turnips!
  • Often children need to be exposed to a new food 10-12 times before they are willing to try it - so keep offering.  Some kids are born loving novelty; other kids are slow to warm up to something new - with time and opportunity, most will come around to enjoying a greater variety of foods.
  • Involve your children in planning the meal.  Children like to make choices - corn or potatoes?  Chicken or fish? Fruit salad or applesauce?  Kids who help plan or prepare a meal are more likely to eat it, even vegetables.  And who can resist a fruit or vegetable kebob?
  • Keep meal times fun.  Don't make food an issue, or pressure kids to eat everything on their plate, or sample everything that you've cooked.  Allow your child to develop their taste for different foods at their own pace.  Start with small amounts - if they want more, they'll let you know.  And if they are full, they will also let you know.  

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