Many parents struggle with children who are “picky eaters.” This can be a very complex and complicated situation that may even require the support of a specialist. However, there are some basic principles parents can incorporate to improve any child’s eating habits.
Adopt the 90/20 plan
This “real world” plan encourages healthy choices a majority of the time, but allows for some wiggle room as well. Aim for about 90% of your diet to be “healthy” nutritious foods, and the other 10% to be “splurge” foods. This plan works for children because they are rewarded with occasional treats, but only after a healthy diet regimen.
Have fun with it
Humor and fun are great ways to get your kids to cooperate. For example, cut your healthy food into fun shapes. Use some cookie cutters to cut fruits and veggies into awesome shapes. You can even set up a salad bar at home. Your kids will have freedom to add the different veggies that they like, such as red peppers, carrot shreds, etc. Some experts even encourage kids to play with their food. If this gets them to eat Brussels sprouts, so be it!
Make health seem cool
Sometimes, it is all in the description. Let kids know that if they have an adventurous spirit with other things, they can have it with food too. I they someday want to travel the world, they should start expanding their taste buds now. It is the cool thing to do!
It’s very common for children to be picky eaters. However, with consistency and good choices, parents can instill healthy habits in their children.
For a consultation with Dr. Sherry Su, our Naturopathic Family Health primary care provider, contact our office to make an appointment!