Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tips for Dealing with Picky Eaters

Growing up I was a self proclaimed picky eater. I didn't like very much, and didn't try new things often...if ever. Because of my pickiness I knew that I would have a picky child. I am big believer in the idea that you get back what you give your parents. AND...my daughter is SUPER picky.

Here's a quick list of what my daughter will eat:
loaf bread
peanut butter
french fries
apples and applesauce
water melon
cream cheese
plain bagels
spaghetti noodles with butter or plain marinara sauce
kraft style macaroni and cheese
popcorn shrimp
Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets (she doesn't like them very much. I have to force her to eat them!)
english peas

that is it. Really. I swear. It's not very much at all, and it can really get me worried on a daily basis. I mean, what child doesn't like Chick-fil-A? It's almost sacrilegious in my neck of the woods. The even sadder part is that it has really gotten a whole lot better since I have implemented a few new tools into our lives over the last 6 months. Want to hear what has helped my picky eater?

1. Stop avoiding the problem!
For the longest time--I just avoided the issue by making her food that I knew she would eat. This meant that I was cooking her a separate meal every meal from the rest of the family. This is just not practical. This also meant that I was packing her lunches and dinners when we ate out--that is even more impractical, not to mention embarrassing!

After consulting my daughter's doctor we decided that something had to change! We stopped the avoidance immediately and prepared for all out war--and it was NOT easy! She put up a good fight, but I had some other tricks up my sleeve. Ultimately, I realized that I was exhausting myself, and I was doing my child a major injustice at the same time.

2. Provide incentives
This is one of the best tools that I have found to work with my picky eater. I recommend that you use what your child does like and make it into a reward for eating the other items on the plate. This could be a dessert, piece of candy, jello, or fruit. Whatever your picky eater likes--use it as a reward for eating those things that they do not like. My daughter has a major sweet tooth, and she loves cookies. I will put Oreos on her plate, but she has to eat all the other items on her plate before she can eat the Oreos.

3. Choices
I have noticed that my daughter is more likely to eat something when she has chosen it. When I am picking out what to make for dinner I will let her make decisions. It's something as simple as green beans or carrots? She is less likely to throw down with me if she makes the choice. Obviously you want the choices to be equally healthy or disliked for this tip to be effective.

4. Get peer help
My daughter would never eat pizza until Halloween when we went over to her bestie's house, and that is what they provided for dinner. Since her friend was eating it--she was excited to do the same. Ever since she has done much better with Pizza!

5. The bite technique
One technique that is an oldie but a goodie is the bite trick. For the things that my daughter really dislikes I give her a small number of bites that she has to eat of that food before she can have her dessert or treat. Usually I try to go for her age. Since she is 4--she has to eat 4 bites of carrots or green beans or spinach before she can have her cookie. This is the same method my mom used to use with me. It works so well!

6. Sneak them in
When all else fails a good way to sneak in unwanted fruits or vegetables is to sneak them in to a "milkshake" or smoothie. My daughter loves her "milkshakes" You can totally throw some spinach in with a banana and strawberries to give them some extra veggies!

Another product that I swear by is Juice Plus. These are fruit and veggie juice gummies that are whole food nutrition. My daughter thinks they are candy and she loves them! They really make me feel better at the end of the day. If all else fails I know that she has gotten the bare minimum that she needs with these gummies. You can check them out here. They are so good that I take them too! They are sold my independent distributors, so if you are interested contact me and I can give you the hook up!

I hope these tips and tricks help another mother out there who struggles with a picky eater! In solidarity, sisters!

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