Picky Eating Increased by Nagging

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by Nicole on March 15, 2011 · 1 comment

in Picky Eaters

How many times did you hear as a child, “You can have dessert after you clean your plate?” As a mom, you often struggle to get your kids to eat healthy foods, no matter how tastily and creatively you present them. Yet, nagging your kids or making rules about eating can increase picky eating problems. In fact, kids who are forced to clean their plate or eat their veggies before dessert may grow up to be eternally picky eaters or prone to over eating.

So what can a busy mom do to ensure that her kids get adequate nutrition, even if they are picky? First, avoid making it into a power struggle. You do not want negative emotions associated with food. Children naturally eat when they are hungry and avoid food when they are not. So instead of fighting with them if they claim they are not hungry, insist that they eat at meal times only, and provide healthy options. For most children that do not have a sensory or eating disorder, they will eventually eat if they are hungry enough. Avoid snacks, juice, and milk for at least an hour before mealtime if possible to increase your child’s need to eat when you present the healthy food options.

Remember that small children need to be exposed to a food many times before they will actually eat it, so provide new foods more than once before deciding that your child hates it. Allow a preferred option at your meal if you are introducing a new food so you can be certain there is something on the table to nourish your child.

Finally, find out if there is a dip that will entice your child to eat his veggies and stall the picky eating. If your little one will eat her green beans dipped in ketchup, then offer the ketchup, even if you think this is an odd taste. After all, she is eating her veggies, and getting a little added nutrients from the tomatoes in the ketchup!

About Nicole

Nicole Harms is a freelance writer and a busy mom to two preschool daughters. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Maranatha Baptist Bible College, but after four years in the classroom she turned in the chalk for the virtual pen. When not researching or writing she is busy chasing her two daughters around or traveling.


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Julia March 17, 2011 at 5:06 am

Thanks for this information, probably every mom is having the same situation as this. We always have a problem in getting our kids to eat their meal mostly if the food is vegetable.

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