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Does your child refuse to eat anything that isn’t covered in cheese? Or would your child rather sit at the table and play with their food instead of eating it?

Nutrition is an important part of a child’s growth and development, so it may alarm parents when their children refuse to eat.

Here are some helpful ways that may help get your child develop better eating habits, try new foods and maybe even love their new foods.

  1. Model a food-positive approach: If your child sees you eating a wide variety of foods and trying new foods then that would encourage them to as well.
  2. Offer praise: Congratulate your child when they eat something new or finish their meal. It may seem silly but by giving them praise it encourages them to continue eating and trying new things.
  3. Reconsider the one bite rule: Telling your child they only need to take one bite of the new food will take the pressure off, knowing they do not have to eat the whole thing. When they do take that one bite, don’t make an issue of how big or small the bite was and don’t try and make them take another bite by saying “just one more”.
  4. Expand on your presentation: if your child refuses to eat a certain food, try and make it or serve it in a different way.
  5. Encourage them to “eat the rainbow”: if you offer a variety of colours there are bound to be some that they will like. Try having a contest at dinner, who can eat the most colours.
  6. Enlist their pals: Watching their peers eat foods without hesitation is usually enough to get them to eat at least one bite of a new food they refused in the past.
  7. Play with texture: Texture can be a big deal breaker; too lumpy, crunchy, smooth, or soft. Try and prepare these foods differently. Instead of cooked veggies, serve raw ones.
  8. Serve food family style, in bowls and on platters: Children may be more interested if they get to choose how much of each food they get.
  9. Consider covert vegetables: Try and sneak fruit and veggies into foods your child already eats; pumpkin in pancakes; shredded carrots and zucchini in pasta sauce.
  10. Finally, don’t give up: keep offering different foods at different meals and in different ways. It may take up to 10-20 times for a child to try a new food.

These tips were taken from “Pleasing Picky Eaters” by Yuki Hayashi in Canadian Living Magazine.

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