November 06, 2009

Questions Asked: Picky Eaters

Kellie asked me, "My sons doctor says that he needs to gain weight. He has not gained weight in about 6 months. He is 18 months old and a very picky eater. Any suggestions??"

 picture via dandelion mama

I only have a 9 month old and she is not picky in the least. But I did live with my niece and nephew for a year and did see some pickiness. Here are some tips you could try:
1. Make it fun! Use fun names "witches juice" "monster legs" "princess pasta" etc. Have you noticed how kids will try lots of foods on Halloween? Also, try cutting into fun shapes, use cookie cutters. Put them on colorful plates, or even their toy plates. Use silly utensils - toothpicks, chopsticks (they make some for kids), measuring spoons, or on a skewer. Have a no plate day - place a plastic table cloth down, and everyone eat off the table.
2. Have them help. Let kids pick out groceries at the store. Let them help make it in the kitchen. They are more likely to eat that way.
3. Nibble trays or dipping. If you are having pasta, put the sauce on the side and let them dip it. It's much more fun. Use a muffin tin or ice cube tray to put lots of different items for them to pick up. Fun, healthy dippers include yogurt, peanut butter, and guacamole.
4. Protein. If you child is having a hard time gaining weight, find items high in protein that will help fill them up and aid in growth. Try string cheese, avocado, peanut butter, beans (my niece would eat garbonzo beans out of the can), and yogurt.
5. Get nutrient rich foods. If you child will only eat bread, make sure it is the wheat bread.
6. Get the junk out of the house. If all they see are colorful boxes of cereal and fruit snacks, they are not going to want the boring packaged foods.
7. Use lots of Praise. Praise the child for trying, eating, or experimenting - even if they didn't eat all you wanted.
8. Be Patient. It takes a child, on average, 10 times of trying a food before they like it. Reintroduce foods every once in a while.

Here are some articles I found very helpful:
Mayo Clinic: 10 tips for picky eaters
17 Great Tips to Try

What about you readers? Any other tips for Kellie?


Camille said...

Such great tips! My oldest was such a good eater when she was younger and now, she has shyed away from so many good foods! I'll have to try these tips to get her back on the "good food" bandwagon! :)

Petit Elefant said...

Involve your kids in the process of grocery shopping and meal planning. Giving them some control helps a lot.