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5 Picky-eater tricks

Every mom has at least one picky eater at her dinner table — the one who is full before he even gets to the table. The one who turns her nose up at not only broccoli (and anything green) but also typical kid favorites such as macaroni and cheese. Moms may freak that their kids are going to starve, so they settle for serving a doughnut dinner just to get their kid to eat. Here are five picky eater tricks to feed even the choosiest of choosy eaters.

Picky eater

1make it fun.

Think outside the box when serving up food. Most kids love playing with their food, so offer foods that are finger-friendly, have a dipping sauce or involve some age-appropriate assembly. (For example, set out small plates of whole-grain crackers, reduced-fat cheeses and thin slices of apples or cucumbers) and let your child make his own snack.

Fruit smoothies are another simple and fun way to pack your kids’ breakfast with nutrition, but don’t stop at the morning meal. Your child may simply prefer sipping his meals to chomping them down. Try soups at lunch and dinnertime, but beware of canned soups that are often loaded with sodium. Making homemade soup is actually pretty simple, and allows you control over exactly what goes into your picky eater‘s liquid lunch. Instead of cream-based soups, opt for tomato, vegetable or chicken noodle soup made with whole-grain fun-shaped noodles. At any opportunity, pack in as much picky-eater-approved produce as possible.

2Puree, puree, puree.

Pureeing food is not just for babies anymore. Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld (aka Jessica) has turned out two cookbooks (Deceptively Delicious and Double Delicious!) dedicated to pureeing fruits and vegetables and adding them to all sorts of kiddy favorites such as macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and even scrambled eggs.

3Add it in.

You don’t need a cookbook to tell you how to pack everyday foods with a powerful punch of nutrients. Your kid may not be stoked on eating a plate of steamed veggies (I’m not that stoked about it, either, if we’re being honest), but he may enjoy spaghetti and turkey meatballs with minced veggies mixed into the sauce.

Be patient! Turning your picky eater into a lean, mean eating machine isn’t going to happen overnight. Take baby steps, and give it time.

4Cut it out.

If your child isn’t eating at mealtime, consider what he’s eating (and drinking) between meals. A few crackers here and some juice there can really fill up a little tummy. Cut out the between-meal snacks and sips (serve water if your child is thirsty) and you may discover your picky eater is much more willing to scarf down his supper.

5Ask children’s opinion.

Children like to believe that they have a choice in what they are eating, so involve them in the process. Ask them to help you pick out one or two never-before-tried fruits or veggies on your next shopping trip. When you get home, involve them in the process of preparing the new foods for dinner.

Most importantly, don’t force your picky eater to eat when he’s “supposed to” (i.e., dinner time, snack time, etc.). Most little ones eat only when they are truly hungry, so don’t sweat it. Instead of looking at the amount of food your child eats in a day, take stock of what he’s eaten over the course of a week. You might discover he’s eating more than you think.

More nutrition tips for kids

10 Healthiest foods your kids need to be eating
Supplements for your children’s health
Sneaky ways to get your picky eater to try new things

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