Tips For Parents of Picky Eaters

When your kid is the only one in the family who refuses to eat pizza, or chicken nuggets, or anything that's not graham crackers and water, it's easy to feel a little down. Like you're some sort of parental failure.

It's only compounded when your well-meaning (I like to hope) friends and family tell you things like, "In MY day, we didn't ALLOW our children to choose - we had one dinner, that was it," or "Why won't your kid EAT anything?"

Like you haven't been TRYING to coax your picky eater to take a bite -- just a bite -- of dinner, or something.

Here are some tips and tricks I've picked up as the mother of an incredibly picky eater.

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Understand that maybe your kid really isn't hungry. Kids go through periods of eating you out of house and home and periods of being relatively un-hungry. It's cool. Let that go.

Don't force your kid to clean their plate. This can result in (if you have a particularly feisty and stubborn wee one) a nasty power struggle. Plus, it can lead to some pretty wicked disordered eating as your kid gets older.

Serve your child small portions of everything you're eating. That way, the amount of food won't feel so overwhelming or anxiety-provoking.

When you're trying new foods, be patient. Kids, unlike grownups, aren't usually too keen on trying new foods. It may take a couple of servings before your kid takes an actual bite of the food. That's okay.

Create a routine and stick to it. Every day, serve snacks and dinner at the same time. Kids thrive in routines, and mealtime is no exception.

Offer water between meals and snacks instead of juice and milk. Kids will often fill up on juice or milk, which means when they say they're not hungry at mealtime, they mean it.

Ignore anyone who makes you feel bad about your child's diet. Not all children are the same, which means that not all children are going to jump at the chance to try arugula, and that's okay. Some kids aren't great eaters.

What other tips and tricks do you have for parents of picky eaters?

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