Learning for Life: Do you have a picky eater?

Many young children are picky eaters. This is a normal stage of development at a time when children cling to the familiar and new experiences, including foods, can be intimidating. As long as your child is healthy and growing well, he or she is likely getting necessary nutrients. If your child is exceptionally picky and you feel his health is at risk, discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician.

Here are some ideas for encouraging your picky eater to try new foods: 1) Have your child help select fresh produce at the store. 2) Allow your child help prepare a dish. 3) Invite him to give that food a special name. 4) Try serving raw veggies to your hungry child as an on-the-go or pre-dinner snack. 5) Serve the same food to the whole family without preparing something else if your child refuses to eat.

Kids are more likely to try new foods that they have helped prepare. Don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t care for a food immediately. It can take up to a dozen tries for them to accept a new item! Most importantly, be a good role model by eating a variety of nutritious foods yourself.

Submitted by Amorette Payment, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, Nutrition Educator, Kenai Peninsula District.

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