The word picky doesn't even begin to describe my child. I need fewer than 10 fingers to name all the food she will regularly eat. Most of our battles as parents have come from trying to not only get our child to eat, but get her to eat nutritional calories instead of just junk food. We have tried everything – veggies hidden in brownies, spinach in shakes – and she has turned up her nose at all of them. More than once I have given up and let her eat chips and salsa for dinner, just for the sake of calories.
To keep every single meal from becoming a battle ground, here are some of our favorite ways to counteract our picky eater.
1. Turn food into a game. I love to create a tic-tac-toe board, using veggies such as carrot sticks and cucumber rounds as the playing pieces.
2. Let them negotiate. Often my child doesn't want to eat something on her plate. I will usually not make her if she will eat more bites of something else.
3. Make them try everything at least once. I could write a book of all the foods I hated as a child that I love as an adult. Repeated exposure to something, even if it is just a small bite, can help them grow to like it later.
4. Make them take a few more bites when they are finished. Whenever my child tells me she is finished eating, I ask her to take four more bites. How do you decided how many bites to tell them to take? For simplicity sake we always go with how old they are. Four years old means four bites.
5. Let them play. Sometimes our picky eater just needs to explore her food for a little while before she is willing to try a bite.
6. Give them a plate with small bites of lots of things. Instead of giving my daughter a sandwich for lunch, I often give her a plate with one carrot, one piece of celery, one strawberry and so on. It keeps her interested in her food longer.
7. Keep nutritious foods they love always on hand. For us, this is Frusion C- Charged Smoothie Drinks. She loves them and says the Strawberry-Banana flavor tastes like "Strawberry Shortcake"!
Honestly, when we first tried Frusion C-Charged Yogurt Smoothies, I was expecting the same reaction I get from every other kind of food: a flat out refusal to even try it. But she loved the idea of getting to drink a smoothie as a snack, so she willing took a sip. And then another. When she finished the first bottle I was completely shocked. My picky eater loved something without me having to coax her to eat it.
What I like about Frusion Smoothies is they have real fruit mixed in with the yogurt and they contain a daily value of Vitamin C and half of her daily calcium, with no high fructose corn syrup (which she can very well do without). They are good for her, so if she wants to have one, I always let her.