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    What to Do About Picky Eaters During the Holidays

    By Dee Madore, .RD., Registered Dietitian

    Here are some tips for pleasant holiday meal times with picky eaters:

    • Don't force children to try new foods or finish their dinner.
      • This can lead to eating disorders later.
      • It is normal for children to go through periods of refusing to eat certain foods or new foods.
      • Allow experimentation.
      • Provide healthy choices.
      • Don't cook something different for their dinner.
    • Be prepared
      • Make familiar choices available
      • Allow your child to help prepare meals.
        • Rinsing vegetables
        • Stirring muffin or bread mixes
        • Preparing baking sheets for dinner rolls
        • Measuring
    • Divide responsibilities
      • Parent's responsibility -- Parents still decide what comes into the house and what's on the menu, as well as setting structured meal and snack times (no short-order cooking!)
      • Child's responsibility – The child chooses what and how much to eat from what is served at meal and snack times.

    Things to Keep in Mind All Year

    • Serve small serving sizes of bite-sized pieces
    • Include a variety of color
    • Mix unpopular food into favorites
    • Have child help with grocery shopping
    • Avoid making issues about your food preferences
    • Eat with your child and become a role model
    • Offer one or two new foods each week
    • Allow 10-15 presentations for your child to try the new food
    • Limit access to "empty-calorie" foods
    • Limit juice to a maximum of 4-6 oz. per day and milk to 16-20 oz. per day to prevent filling up on liquids
    • Every meal or every day doesn't have to be balanced. Look at the week overall.

     


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