Is your child a picky eater? Try this.

Yes, you can get your child to eat healthy, even if he's a picky eater.
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Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
January 12, 2022
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5 min
Minute Read

As I pediatrician, I hear concerns from parents almost daily about their child’s eating habits. From picky eaters to obesity to non-compliant eaters, I’ve heard it all (and more) in my practice.

This issue can be very emotional for parents, especially mothers. If our kids don’t eat well, we feel like we’re not parenting well because we should at least be able to give sustenance to our children. That is the essence of survival and care. So when our child rejects something we try to feed him, it’s more than an annoyance. It’s a source of guilt and shame.

This is why I wanted to sit down with an expert to talk about nutrition and kids. Julie Revelant is a nutrition expert and health journalist who specializes in teaching parents how to raise kids who crave healthy foods. I recently interviewed Julie on my Parenting Great Kids podcast, and she provided some excellent tips and insights into how parents can help their child become a healthy eater. 

I highly encourage you to listen to the full episode here, or wherever you like to listen to your podcasts. One of the biggest topics we hit is the one I probably hear about most from parents: picky eaters.

So many parents have children who won’t eat their vegetables, or simply don’t seem to want to eat at all. By dinnertime, parents are at their wit’s end and cave to their child, giving her whatever she wants, which just perpetuates the problem.

Julie offered some great advice for picky eaters that just might revolutionize dinnertime for your whole family.

Being a picky eater is a part of the developmental process.

Julie pointed out that when a baby starts to eat solid food, they eat anything. Then around age two, a child will start to reject certain foods. This is normal and developmental, which is important for parents to remember. All kids hit this stage, and it’s probably rooted in a survival instinct to avoid harmful foods. Don’t be surprised if your toddler is a picky eater. Expect him to be.

Model what healthy eating looks like.

The best way to overcome picky eaters, Julie says, is to model healthy eating yourself. When her children were young, she used to prepare a big salad for herself every day, chopping vegetables and putting all sorts of healthy foods into a big salad bowl. Her kids were curious about what she was doing. They wanted to try her food. This is a great example of modeling healthy eating habits that your child will want to mimic.

Eating dinner as a family is another suggestion Julie makes. This makes food enjoyable, social, and a part of the rhythm of your child’s day. Creating a positive environment around food will help your child see food in a positive way.

Stay consistent, no matter what.

On average, Julie said, a parent will have to offer their child a new food eight to 15 different times before the child will try it! It takes even more tries for the child to embrace it. Think about that. 

Several times in our conversation, Julie talked about being consistent with your child and food. When they reject something, offer it to them again in a different way. And keep offering it because they will eventually try it and eventually embrace it as a part of their diet. But you can’t give up. Stay consistent and you, and your child, will reap the rewards.

Again, please go and listen to my full conversation with Julie Revelant. She has a wealth of knowledge on how to make your family healthier and happier. And, for even more parenting resources, tips, and tricks, join my new online parenting community, Parenting Great Kids (PGK).

When you become a member, you can join the chat board where I answer parents’ questions in real time. You will also gain immediate access to all of my parenting resources that cover parenting issues for every age and stage, including discipline, how to have “that talk,” and more.

If being a better parent is on your New Year’s resolution list, there is no better way to achieve your goal. Join our community today!

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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