Picky Eaters 101

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One of the most common questions we get in our office is, “How can I get my child to eat more healthy foods?” While there is no magic pill, we will be posting some of our favorite tips over the next few weeks. Keep in mind, this is just a phase, things will get easier!

Quick Tip #1: It is normal for small children are afraid of trying new things, including trying new foods (food neophobia). Reassurance does not always work. But… the more familiar they are with a food the more likely they will try it and like it. It may take several exposures to new foods before the child will accept them and eat them – sometimes as many as 15 attempts! Neophobia peaks at age two years old. It is less of a problem at three, four and five years old. Continue to offer your child to foods they don’t want to eat, but never force them to eat it.

Remember parents are responsible for providing healthful food that is appropriate for the age of the child. Children are responsible for how much they eat or if they eat at all.

If all else fails, follow #mykidcanteatthis for some sympathy and a good laugh.

Perry RA, Mallan KM, Koo J, Mauch CE, Daniels LA, Magarey AM. Food neophobia and its association with diet quality and weight in children aged 24 months: a cross sectional study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015 Feb 13;12:13. doi: 10.1186/s12966-015-0184-6. PubMed PMID: 25889280; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4335451.
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