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Ending the Cycle of Picky Eating

By Donna Kostiew

When it comes to picky eating, we all have our little quirks we fall back on. One of my friends won’t eat any food that touched any kind of green vegetable. So if a burger joint accidentally added lettuce on his burger … oh boy … he couldn’t just simply take the lettuce off. Nope. That would be too easy. He would not eat the sandwich and send it back (where I am sure the cooks simply took the lettuce off and re-plated the food).

Adults are set in their ways and can be absurdly stubborn about certain things. And so can children, but I have found that there is more hope in changing a child’s mind than trying to change an adult’s, especially when it comes to being a picky eater.

It’s not Impossible to Get Your Kids to Eat

With a little perseverance, some patience, and some set-in-stone ground rules you should be able to get your child’s eating behaviors to match your expectations. Or at least come close. Here are some suggestions on how to get started.

  • Set an example – Be the example that you want your child to emulate. Children will eat what they know.
  • Starve them – Well, not literally of course. But making sure they are hungry before you try to feed them a plate of vegetables will help. This also means don’t let them over-snack during the day.
  • Power them up – Giving your child the power to choose what to eat can be very exciting for them. Just make sure the choices are all healthy.
  • Dig in your heels – Research shows that it will sometimes take up to eight times of trying before a child will accept a new food. This is where the set-in-stone rule comes in of taking at least one bite, and where perseverance and patience can’t be pushed aside.
  • Make food fun - Associating healthy food to things your child already loves is a fun way to get them to eat a few bites of this or a few bites of that. For my daughter, she had to eat a bite for all the princesses she loved. One for Cinderella, one for Belle, one for Snow White, and on, and on, and on (all the while I was silently thanking Disney for the gazillion princesses that existed).
  • Get them involved – Let your children pick out a recipe and help with the shopping and preparation of the meal. Their enthusiasm will show throughout the entire process and they will be more inclined to eat their “masterpiece.”
  • Make it colorful – If you haven’t already noticed, children love color, so try to incorporate several different colors on their plates.

Like I said above, the good news is that it is not impossible to get your children to eat. If there is any bad news, it’s that you may end up pulling out chunks of your hair before all is said and done. But let’s be clear, victory belongs to the parent who has succeeded in this endeavor.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Pooler, Ga.

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