Tips to Avoid Having a Picky Eater

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In a dream world, your child will grow up to willingly clean his room, mind his manners, and enjoy regularly bathing. But most importantly, he will happily eat any food you put in front of him. We’ve all seen the screaming kid in the restaurant flipping out over the chicken tenders not being quite right. So start him young! Here are some helpful tricks to avoid having a fussy eater:

Variety is key: in flavor, temperature, and textures.

Don’t be afraid of a little seasoning: Add a little garlic, turmeric, or cinnamon to your recipes to help expand your baby’s palate.

Provide a variety of textures: As soon as you see your baby has mastered the purée, start providing thicker and more textured foods. The goal is to offer solid table foods (like shredded chicken or diced pears) by nine months of age.

Let him see you eating a well varied diet: Watching mom and dad is key to his learning.

Just because he refuses something once doesn’t mean he doesn’t like it: Continue offering foods in a variety of temperatures, mixtures, and preparations. Sometimes, he just doesn’t want it one day but loves it the next.

Don’t cater to a toddler’s shrinking preferences: We all have foods we love. Just because your toddler demands yogurt or mac n’ cheese every day doesn’t mean he should eat it. Instead, offer a variety of fruits, veggies, meats, and grains during the week. Include both his current favorites and some new choices.

Be patient: Remember, it takes trying a new food seven to nine times before you even know if you truly dislike it.

If your toddler refuses to eat a meal, DO NOT make him something new: This reinforces that he doesn’t have to eat what is offered and can control his meal choices. Instead, remind him that what you have made is his only choice and his tummy will be hungry if he doesn’t eat it. Initially, this can be difficult and may lead to some tantrums, but your toddler will quickly catch on.

Get your child involved in shopping and cooking: Kids are more adventurous eaters when they created what they are eating.

Rename foods: Get creative with your child: a meatball is now a “monster meatball” and broccoli is now a “mini tree!” Being playful with food names will make your child more excited to eat.

Happy eating!

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About the Author


Patricia Rose Bast

Patricia Rose Bast is a physician, blogger, wife, and mother to a beautiful baby boy. She has always had a love for children and a fascination for medicine. She has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of California Irvine and a Doctorate of Osteopathy from Touro University in California. In addition, she completed two years of pediatric residency at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and currently practice at a pediatric office in Southern California. Now that she is a mother she understands better than ever the challenges faced by new parents.

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