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MC: Handling Picky Eaters

I am part of an AWESOME mommy panel with Cassie from Two In Diapers and Julie from Naptime Review.
Each Saturday, we will bring you fresh new ideas and advice about motherhood.
If you enjoyed what you read, we encourage you to tweet about it!
Coming on February 2nd, we will discuss:
How do you keep your family's bedtime routine manageable?
Now on to this week's topic!
How do you handle picky eaters?
Here is what Mom Connection shared:
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Welcome! I'm Julie over at Naptime Review. I am a mom of two wild, crazy and beautiful girls. My oldest just turned 4 and my baby is 17 months old. This is how I handle picky eaters:
I think this issue is important and can form and shape how children view food. In fact, I try to be very conscious of the words, I choose when discussing eating in our house. I don’t want to form any unhealthy relationships with food. I want my children to try new things and to learn how to eat a balanced meal. I believe in having kids try new food but not forcing them to eat new foods. I also always put a vegetable on their plate even though it rarely gets eaten. We make our plates colorful! In fact, there are many resources out there encouraging children to eat through the rainbow. Click here to learn more!
I also try to involve Averie into the meal planning and cooking process when feasible. I was so excited that she would enjoy the zucchini muffins we made together but she took one bite and said, “Yuck!” Oh well at least she tried it.
We enjoy kid friendly foods that can be eaten with our fingers. Sometimes, I cut sandwiches in fun shapes with cookie cutters! I try to make meal time fun and creative! Click here to check out a great blog, with lots of kid friendly recipes and suggestions!
I also try to keep in perspective that adult serving sizes and kids are WAY different. A nutritionist once told me, “Kids eat a TBSP per age.” For example, a serving of fruit for Averie is 4 TBSP since she is 4 years old. I try to keep that in mind when fixing their plates.
Bottom lines though, pick your battles on what you really think they need to eat. It is not worth fighting over a meal, making empty threats, and forming unhealthy relationships with food. Children will eat when they are hungry. You just need to make sure when they are hungry they have healthy choices and options.
Hi! I'm Cassie from Two In Diapers, and I'm a mommy to three sweet babies, ages 4, 3, and 20 months. This is how I handle picky eaters:
With a lot of patience and delicacy. You see - I happen to be married to the pickiest eater on the planet, so I definitely have at least one that inherited this unpleasant quality.
I strongly believe that forcing a child to eat something he or she doesn't like is pointless, and the "eat 4 more bites and then you can get down" battle just sets everyone up for a long, frustrating meal. While each of my littles definitely has vegetables that they won't touch, they also each have vegetables that they really like. For the most part, I really stay flexible and try to rotate around the healthy foods that they like. If someone doesn't like something, we encourage them to eat it but don't force them to {and I should add that we have a strict rule about saying rude things like "it's yucky"}.
You might be thinking that my kids must eat horribly and I have no control over their health, but here's the thing… when my oldest {Emily, 5 next month} was a baby and didn't like a food item that I gave her, I left it in front of her. I didn't make an issue out of it or try to force her to eat it. Each time we had the food that I knew she didn't like, I keep putting it in front of her but not making a big deal out of her eating it. Eventually, she almost always ended up eating it. I've continued that on with all of them. Sometimes they never touch it {in which case we package it up and stick it in the fridge after the meal is over}, but many times they end up trying it later on.
One final thought: I think it helps a TON to either make food look interesting or to serve it in a way that they like. I often carve their names out of cheese slices or cut shapes out of other foods. Emily loves when I hide the letters of her name in her school lunch. And I definitely don't have a problem with peeling off some bread crust if my littles will devour an entire sandwich this way, and I won't complain about peeling an apple when my three-year-old will eat the entire fruit every day it it's peeled.
In the end I know that we moms all have the same desire: to raise healthy children. I'm so looking forward to gleaning some ideas from the rest of you!
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My name is Alexa from No Holding Back. I am the mom of Nayner Bug (male, 5), Jelly Bean, (female, 3) and Tiny (female, 1). This is how I handle picky eaters:
Aren't all kids picky eaters? I have always wondered how some moms I know could get their kids to sit and eat a plate full of vegetables. I think I figured it out way too late. They introduced them young and just kept introducing them. And didn't offer them chips and chocolate instead. Oops. I know where I went wrong! I am trying to reverse the damage done, but in my defense, I was put on bedrest early on in my 3rd pregnancy, hospitalized three times, (the last time for 36 days!) and had a preemie in the NICU for 3 months! So, the poor 4 year old and 2 year old were lucky they ate most days. However, months of chicken nuggets, pizza, and other junk set us back a few steps on the path to getting my picky eaters to eat well. So, after reading up on the subject, we implemented a simple plan. 1. Don't make the junk food easily available. We don't have chicken nuggets as a meal anymore. We have chicken breast, (as an example) and they are served what we eat. If they don't want to eat it, they may be excused, but no other snacks for the evening. (Eventually they get hungry.) 2. They must have a "no thank you" serving. One bite of everything, and if they don't like it, we don't force it. 3. No snacks within an hour of dinner. A hungry child is more willing to dry different things! 4. Be relaxed about it. Who cares if your kid doesn't eat every vegetable or fruit as long as they are eating some of them. It doesn't really matter to me that neither of my kids will eat strawberries or pears, because they eat apples, oranges, grapes, melon, etc. 5. Give them choices. I have less of a battle over healthy foods if I let them choose between a variety of healthy options.
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My name is Fotini! I blog over at Glamorous Affordable Life. I am the mom of (Isabella 20 months and Christian 6 years). This is how I handle picky eaters:
Christian ate just about anything as a toddler, even calamari! There wasn't anything he wasn't really interested in trying. Now that he's older, he seems to have much more of an opinion about certain foods. If it doesn't smell good, he won't try it. If it looks bad, he won't eat it. I mean, this is understandable, but it's stuff my husband and I like! He loves cheese, but not melted cheese and refuses to eat a grilled cheese. Who doesn't like grilled cheese?! So what I do with him is, I tell him to at least try a bite or two, and if he truly doesn't like it, he doesn't have to eat it. I've found this works for me right now because more often than not, he ends up liking it. It's gotten so bad before, though, that I've asked him to try something and he's gagging.. So I don't "force" him to eat anything, I understand he is becoming his own little person, with his own likes and dislikes!
As for Isabella, we have had such a time with her teething, that some days she'll chow down and others she only nibbles on things throughout the day. It really helps with her, if we are all sitting down at the table together, chit chatting about the days events, as well as eating. She seems to eat more. Not sure whether that's coincidence or not?! She always like to try a bite of whatever I'm eating, so sometimes when she's refusing to eat, I'll pretend I'm eating it and then suddenly she wants a bite! Oh, how I'd love to know just how those little minds work I really must admit, my kids are as picky as some I've seen so I'm fortunate for that! Can you relate with me?
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My name is Kristen from The Mrs. & The Momma. I'm the momma of three girls (ages 7, 5, & 3) and a little boy (18 months). This is how I handle picky eaters:
Having picky eaters in our house is nothing husband is King of picky eaters. So efforts to get my kids to try different things is sometimes futile. But I've learned a few tricks that I keep up my sleeve. Most kids go through a picky stage that usually starts to improve by about 5 (in our experience at least). There's always that fear of our kids not getting enough nourishment when they have two Cheerios for breakfast and a rice cake for lunch, even though other food is offered. Basically to deal with my picky eaters, I offer only what I cook but make sure there's at least one thing in the meal that they like. That way, if they refuse the main dish for example, I don't feel as guilty telling them that breakfast will be their next meal. (read: This momma is no cook-to-order chef.) I think also disguising foods in others can be a useful strategy to help picky eaters get nutrients they need. As a parents of little ones, it's tough to not hand over some processed bar or cracker when they're hungry, but we really try our best not to...even if that results in some disgusted faces, throwing food, or full out melt-downs....and that's just from my husband. :)
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Your Turn:

Do you have a picky eater in your house?
Leave us a comment; we love to read your tips and advice!
Need advice? Check out these previous Mom Connection topics:

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