At Metta Weight Management, New Jersey Weight Loss Clinic, we hear from parents, grandparents, and family members who provide care for little ones:
“The child will only eat chicken nuggets, french fries, or mac and cheese”
“She is a picky eater”
“He will go without eating dinner if I give him vegetables”
“I don’t have the time to make two separate meals”
It is hard to prepare a meal for picky eaters while trying to stay on track with a balanced plate for your weight management. Here are our top three tips to avoid kids becoming a roadblock to your meal plan: EXPOSE, MODEL, PATIENCE.
EXPOSE: Repeated exposure to a food is a well supported and effective method of increasing consumption of a particular food. Repetition, variety, and visually making the food look appealing will increase the child’s familiarity and likelihood of trying the food.
MODEL: Children learn from their parents and follow their friends. You have probably noticed that the child will eat a food that they usually don’t when around other children. So, eat together as a family, be a model for your child by demonstrating that vegetables are part of your dinner routine and everyone eats them.
PATIENCE:This is probably the hardest part. Who wants to sweat over preparing a meal and then have the child not eat it. Don’t lose your cool. Try and engage your child in a fun and positive conversation that is not related to food. Offer a non-food reward to the child for trying the new food you have prepared. And if it is a no go, no big deal:you managed to stick to your balanced meal while exposing and modeling for your child. So you still come out as the winner.