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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

Dealing with a Choosy Eater

Dinner time can be a nightmare when dealing with a choosy eater. Screaming, kicking, and crossing of the arms are typical reactions of a choosy eater not wanting to eat what's in front of him or her. So how should a parent help their child get through this phase without going mad?

  • Children are more likely to eat foods they help choose at the store and help prepare at home. Give them simple tasks, like mixing and measuring. Try different kid's cookbooks or children's nutrition websites for easy recipes that kids can help make. University of Illinois Extension's Food for Thought has a lot of great recipes geared toward children.
  • Avoid being a short-order cook. Offer the same food for the whole family, but try to plan at least one food everyone will eat. Its okay if your child does not eat everything offered to them.
  • Trust your child's appetite. Forcing a child to eat or to eat more can actually make the situation worse. Children may stop sensing their inner signals that tell them when they are full, and they may associate negative feelings with food.
  • Set reasonable time limits to start and end the meal. Some children appear to be a choosy eater but may actually just be a slow eater. A reasonable time depends on the age of the child. A 2 year old will need more time than a 6 year old.
  • Stay positive. Avoid calling your child a "picky eater." Children believe what they hear! Make mealtime enjoyable for the whole family and keep the conversations positive.

Instead of saying, "You must take one more bite of peas before you leave the table," try "Has your tummy had enough?"

Instead of saying, "See, that didn't taste so bad, did it?" try "Do you like that?"

Remember, it may take between 10-15 times of offering a new food to the child before he or she will eat it. It's normal for them to not like new or unfamiliar foods. It's also normal to go through periods where they just don't eat much at all. Try to be patient and relax!

Breakfast Sundae

1 pint fresh berries (blueberry, strawberry, etc.)

3 cups non-fat vanilla yogurt

1 cup granola

½ teaspoon finely grated orange rind

Wash berries and pat dry. If using strawberries, hull and slice in half. Layer 1/3 cup yogurt into each of 4 dessert dishes. Alternate layers of fruit, granola and yogurt, ending with yogurt. Sprinkle grated orange rind on top.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving)- Calories 77 ~ fat 0 g ~ carbohydrate 16 g ~ dietary fiber 2 g

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