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Does your child refuse to eat certain foods because of the color or texture? Does your child only eat particular foods? If yes, you may have a picky eater! Picky eating is common in young children and can be part of the process of growing up and learning to make independent food choices.
Here are some tips to encourage picky eaters to enjoy a wide variety of healthful foods:
• Allow children to help choose fruits and vegetables in the grocery store. For example, if your child loves bananas, let them choose one while shopping. Over time let them choose a fruit or vegetable that is their favorite color or one they have never tried. If it requires preparation let them help prepare the food.
• Encourage your child help prepare meals. Children are excited when they can help do something new, like stirring food, rinsing vegetables and adding ingredients.
• Allow children to choose between two options the food they would prefer. For example, ask “would you rather have carrots or green beans?” When children have a choice of foods, they feel in control and at the same time you are in control of making sure their choice is a healthful one.
• Offer foods with bright colors and fun shapes. Use cookie cutters to make star shaped sandwiches. Or make smiley faces on plates with fruit and vegetables. For example, they could use cucumber slices for eyes, a strawberry for the nose, and beans as the smile. It makes eating new foods fun!
• Model positive eating behaviors. If you’re not eating fruits and vegetables, most likely your child won’t either. If they see you eating and enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables they will probably eat them with you.
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