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.
- Make familiar choices available
- Allow your child to help prepare meals.
- Rinsing vegetables
- Stirring muffin or bread mixes
- Preparing baking sheets for dinner rolls
- 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.