Updated 02/15/2012 05:00 AM
Child Wellness: Dealing with picky eaters
Is your child a picky eater? Not interested in trying new foods? In this Child Wellness report, Marcie Fraser looks at how to get your child trying a variety of foods.
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Is your child a picky eater? As a parent, are you concerned they are not getting enough of the proper nutrients? Experts say in most cases, there’s nothing to be concerned about.
"A lot of parents will get stressed out when a child did not good with milk one day or the fruit or vegetable another day and whatever their age is, really nutrition is an average of what they eat over a week," said Ellie Wilson, R.D. and Price Chopper Senior Nutritionist.
The biggest concern for kids is calcium intake.
"They have rapidly growing bones and muscles all those things that can potentially quite active. You want to get kids in the range of two to three servings in a course of the day, low fat cheese can be part of that," said Wilson.
Take the kids shopping with you, have them pick out two new food a week for the whole family to try.
"We train our tastes. We learn our taste. With no exposure means we never get used to anything new, so again parents have to be willing to play that game as well. The whole family has to get committed to this idea," said Wilson.
Good nutrition also means a variety of already cut up fruits and vegetables, and get smart on the snacks.
"Snacks are challenging but not because they are bad in themselves but it is the quantity. Corn chips, potato chips, pretzels, people perceive chips to be really healthy and technically they are not, they are lower in fat than other things," said Wilson.
Make snacks that have extra protein and calcium like low fat cheese with a high fiber cracker. Prepare trail mix with their favorite nuts, berries and a tasty low sugar and high fiber cereal.
Try this at dinner: the “two bites no thank you” rule. The child has to take at least a few bites of a new food and at least they can sample it and if they don't like it, at least they tried.
"It helps introduce them to taste but doesn't require them to commit to an entire plateful of something they are not familiar with or haven't tried before," said Wilson.
And if all else fails, you will have to be patient. Data does show that as kids mature, so does their palate.