I'll have the French fries with a side of cookies please...

I'm having a hard time getting my child to eat much variety.  And fruits and veggies? Forget it!  What can I do about my picky eater?

Every mama, whether she’s a polar bear or a sparrow, shares one instinct—we all want to feed our babies.  So it can be incredibly frustrating and stressful when our little people refuse to eat.  While we can’t force them to eat, take heart in the fact that a normal healthy child will not allow himself to starve and try a few ideas to encourage a wider variety at mealtimes.

Don't be a short order cook:  Ever notice how one day your child can scarf down a whole plate of lasagna and then three days later that same lasagna has been hurled onto the kitchen floor?  It's not that little Bobby has suddenly developed an aversion to it--he's just thinking 'I'm not in the mood for lasagna, what else ya got?'   So what’s a mama to do?  Well, think back to that polar bear.  You can bet that she’s not going to nip out to the local Dairy Queen for ice cream if her baby decides he doesn’t like fish anymore.  Stick with what’s on the menu so the kiddies don’t think they can get away with holding out for their favourites. 

Go for the instant replay:  I confess that I’m not determined enough to bring out last night's untouched dinner for today's breakfast, but don't hesitate to retry foods at the next meal.  If lunch was a no-go, don't feel you need to serve their favourites for dinner in order to make up for the missed meal.  Take advantage of the fact that they'll be less picky if they're really hungry.

They don't need much:  We’ve all seen children eat 3 slices of pizza and a piece of cake in one sitting but it doesn’t mean they require that much food.  The amount of food a small child needs is actually surprisingly small, so even if he only has a few bites of a new or less favoured food, consider it a success.

Get creative:  Figure out where/when they're most likely to eat healthy foods.  Maybe they happily clean their plates if you're at a friend's house.  My 2-year-old will try anything so long as he's standing on a chair at the kitchen counter 'helping' me cook.  When the environment is more fun, they're less likely to start a power struggle.

Nanny Carrie’s Tip: Prepare meals in small freezable servings (mini-muffin tins are perfect) so you can easily introduce new foods on a regular basis without the hassle of making it from scratch each time and the frustration of throwing out large uneaten portions.

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Author: Nanny Carrie

Nanny Carrie always knew she wanted a big family, so she made it her business to borrow everybody else's children until she had her own. You can find her embracing the organized chaos of life with five kids and loving (almost) every minute!

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