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Food Fight: Picky Eaters

One of the most common food fights Canadian families face is managing picky eaters at mealtime. March is Nutrition Month and this year dietitians across Canada want to help you “Take the Fight out of Food” using a 3-step approach: Spot the problem, get the facts and seek support. 25-35% of toddlers are described by their parents as picky eaters. Establishing healthy eating habits at an early age will contribute to the development of lifelong heathy eating habits. 

Spot the Problem: You have one picky eater, one who won’t eat vegetables and a husband with many food preferences. You’re frustrated trying to find meals that everyone will enjoy.

Get the Facts: You look for reliable information to help you decide what needs to be done to solve the problem. 

You look on www.dietitians.ca under picky eaters and find that there is a division of responsibility between children and parents when it comes to eating.

  • Adults decide what, where and when to feed the children

  • Children decide how much and whether to eat

You also learn that appetites vary and children eat different amounts each day depending on activity level, fatigue and whether they are experiencing a growth spurt.

  • Children should not graze or have milk or juice before a meal to ensure you don’t spoil their appetite.
  • Children are more inclined to eat vegetables when they are hungry
  • It can take 8-15 tastes before a child will like a new food.
  • Families should eat together to role model healthy eating. Parents can also teach children how to grocery shop and prepare healthy meals.

Seek Support: Armed with this new information you make a plan with your husband around setting regular meal and snack times, being good role models and being respectful of both yours and your children’s role in the feeding relationship. You stop telling the children they need to finish what is on their plate and you also stop giving crackers or milk just before mealtime. You inform other family members involved in feeding the kids of your plan so they can help support too. You also learn that your local grocery store has dietitians that offer grocery store tours that offer suggestions for new meals and cooking tips. You seek out new recipes the whole family will enjoy using the Cookspiration app.

Take the pledge to “take the fight out of food” at www.NutritionMonth2017.ca you can also find 12 new recipes.

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