Tips for Healthy Living

Tricks For Picky Eaters

Finding peace during mealtime wars

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Thursday, Aug 11, 2011  |  Updated 10:32 AM CDT
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Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies

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Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies

Tricks parents can do to get their kids to eat healthy foods.
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Ask seven year old London Roberson what she likes to eat and the answers are predictable; nachos, corn dogs and ice cream.

But when it comes to fruit and vegetables, her mother, Tracey, said she's a tough critic. "She won't eat asparagus, carrots, broccoli, unless we force her," said Tracey.

To get her involved in meal time, London's parents let her cook with them, which is a common way to get children interested in different foods. But the trick that works most often is bribery.

"Telling her she has to make a 'happy plate' or there's no dessert, or there's no playtime with her friends," said Tracey.

Arlington dietitian and founder of healthylifestylebalance.com, Jennifer Pereira said bribery is frequently used among parents, but it's one of the worst things you can do.
 
"It presents a lot of relationship with food issues," said Pereira."Children start to see the foods you want them to eat as yucky and the foods they're being rewarded with as special and more desirable."

Instead, Pereira suggests dressing up foods with things like salad dressing or cheese, or pureeing fruits and vegetables and sneaking them into other more appetizing dishes. If none of that works, Pereira says to just relax.

"Children, if left up to their own devices, have been shown to time and time again, that they will meet their own nutritional needs by making natural choices of their own," said Pereira.

And at mealtime, reconnecting with your kids is far more important than fretting over every bite they do or don't take.
 

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