Transforming Picky Eating
Anyone who has dealt with a picky eater knows that meal times can become a challenge.
But it doesn’t have to be an ongoing battle! Implementing a few small changes can make a big difference in the eating habits of your child and the quality of their nutrition. Make sure to talk to your physician or Martin’s dietitian if you’re concerned about your child’s nutrition or if their eating habits have a negative impact on health and wellness.
• Offer choices. Allow family members to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Make the choices comparable, such as asking if they would like grapes or apples, so that the meal is still balanced.
• Be a good role model. Don’t expect children to have balance and variety in their eating if you don’t! Make sure you eat all of the food groups and set a good example for how you expect your children to eat.
• Avoid power struggles. Stay calm and avoid arguments about food. Empower yourself to make decisions and set reasonable limits.
• Turn off distractions. Keep meal time about food and quality time together. Turn off the television and do not allow phones at the table. These distractions make children less likely to engage and less likely to eat appropriately.
• Respect your child’s hunger and fullness cues. Be sure to help your child identify and listen to their body’s cues. Do not force children to finish all of their food or use food as a reward.
Brought to you by Dr. Michelle Mannia, a South Bend clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. For more information, visit www.drmichellemannia.com