how to raise a happy healthy eater
Holiday time! This can be stressful enough without throwing a cracky picky eater on top of it! (If they would only eat something they wouldn't be so cracky, right?!). I put together 7 tips and tricks to help you make it through!
strategy #1: Have your little one help with meal prep
Depending on their age, your little one could help with chopping, pouring, scooping, stirring and more! We know that when kids are engaged with food during meal prep, it increases the chances of them consuming said foods!
STRATEGY #2: Regulate their sensory system ahead of time
STRATEGY #3: Offer a preferred food with their meal
Children are often more willing to sit down and eat with the family if there is a food on their plate that they want to eat. Don't miss this key step in the process! Preferred foods should always have a place on their table to increase comfort and feelings of safety.
STRATEGY #4: EXpose them to foods in advance
Kids are more willing to try foods they have had multiple exposures to (E.g., if you will be eating cranberry sauce during the holidays, try offering it (pre-made works too!) or even dried cranberries at least a few times beforehand.
STRATEGY #5: Chain foods and condiments
If you're working on your child eating new foods, then you'll want to introduce foods similar to what they already love based on properties (texture, color, size, etc.) (E.g., If your child loves PB&J sandwiches, try putting cranberry sauce on bread (similar to jelly in texture and color, served on something they already love)
STRATEGY #6: Serve family style
Serve all the foods at the table rather than pre-making plates and bringing them to the able. This helps them be in charge of their own plate! It also takes some of the pressure off and gives them options and choices.
STRATEGY #7: Have your child be in charge of their plate (or yours)
Let your child serve themselves (make sure a preferred food is on the table too!). This gives them a little bit of control over what they're going to eat and how much. If they don't want to put foods on their plate, ask them to help you put food on your plate instead.
Want to learn more? Listen to the podcast episode where I break down these. principles and give more detailed information! Click here to listen to the free podcast!
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Christine Miroddi Yoder is a parent and feeding expert. She is the author of the book Mealtime Mindset and the Podcast How to Un Picky Your Picky Eater and owner of the feeding clinic Foodology Feeding Therapy.