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Before I had kids, I knew my children would not be picky eaters. (I also knew that they would be perfect sleepers and perfectly well behaved in public, but I digress…let’s save those delusions for another day and get back to picky eating.)
I knew that my kids wouldn’t be picky because I would feed them balanced meals, and they would eat them…because they wouldn’t have a choice. I would be firm (but loving of course), and if I was just consistent enough, they would comply, because I truly believed that that’s what children did when they had good parents.
Well let’s just say, my friends, that karma came back to bite me in the butt on that one because I now have a child who is an extremely picky eater, and no amount of firm limits and consistency has been able to change that. And believe me, I’ve tried…for 11 years I’ve tried. So today, we’re bringing in an expert!
Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has helped thousands of families with young kids make healthy eating approachable and attainable. Kacie’s resources provide parents with nutrition tips, picky eater advice, and easy meal ideas. She has a Master of Clinical Nutrition degree from UT Southwestern, a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University, and earned her Bachelor’s degree at NYU. Kacie lives in Dallas, TX with her husband and two children, plus their Labradoodle, Winnie!
- Serve a safe food. Think about how you would feel if you visited a new country with a cuisine you’ve never tried and were invited to a meal. Nothing on the table is recognizable to you or maybe you see something you’ve tried and didn’t like before. Know what your child’s safe foods are and incorporate them into meals.
- Don’t force them to eat something. Studies show that 70% of adults say that they no longer eat foods they were forced to eat as children. So while it might feel like a “win” by forcing a child to eat vegetables, consider the cost. There are countless benefits of family meals that are well researched and go way beyond the food like improved physical health, mental health, and even better academic performance.
- Incorporate all 5 senses- just not all at once. Help your child move through different levels of exposure with foods, letting your child go only as far as they are comfortable. Using the other senses is less overwhelming than eating a new food. Try dipping raw broccoli in water and then catching the drops of water in their mouth that drip off the broccoli, or line up the green beans from shortest to tallest.
>>>Are these tips from Kacie Barnes about picky eaters helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.
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