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No More Picky Eaters

July 14, 2011

It can be tough to feed your kids – you need to keep the balance between healthy and treats.  It only gets tougher when your child is a picky eater, but let’s make the distinction between picky eater and a child who simply doesn’t want to eat their veggies.  A picky eater comes from bribing and rewarding, so there are few alternatives to avoid this problem.

Dr. Michelle May has come up with a list of alternative statements to say to your kids to get them away from picking eating.  One of the most common phrases used towards children at the dinner table is “You are such a good eater.”  This phrase has a connotation of praise and reward, but as a parent you do not want tor reward your child for eating, it is something they need to be doing.  An alternative phrase would be “You must have been hungry today!”

Another phrase when a child doesn’t eat is to tell them they are picky.  This is not good because it only allows the child to keep being like this as you, as parent, turn around to get the food that they wanted.  Instead acknowledge why they might be upset and ask them to take try it again.  You can use a phrase such as “I know you didn’t it like this last time, but I made it with a new sauce that you love!”

We have all used and heard the phrase “If you don’t finish your dinner no dessert.”  This phrase is a bribe; as talked about before, this encourages picky eating.  Instead, try to explain to your children why you want them to eat their dinner before dessert.  You can say something like “Dinner is going to be you strong and healthy while dessert is just for fun!”  You can even encourage your child to eat by saying “Save room for dessert!”

It is important to encourage your child to eat healthy, while balancing their diet with food they enjoy.  Try and avoid bribes because that encourages picking eating, rather try alternative statements that acknowledge and explain what each of you are wanting.  HURRAY FOR FOOD!

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