The TODAY Show’s Joy Bauer had awesome tips yesterday on getting healthy meals on the dinner table. Today, she shares her strategies on dealing with picky eaters. She’s a genius, I’m telling you!
4 Top Tips to Deal with Picky Eaters
1. Don’t worry about veggie variety. Make any vegetables they’ll eat! Don’t worry about getting in a huge variety when they’re young—if they like two or three vegetables, say green beans and carrots, make them often! Any vegetable is better than no vegetable.
2. Insist on a taste. Institute a policy for trying new foods or foods they don’t like. They have to take at least one bite when a new or disliked food is offered. They may need to sample or try a new food 10 or more times before they start to find it acceptable, so don’t give up!
3. No special meals. If they don’t want to eat what’s being served for dinner, offer only one standard “back-up” meal that doesn’t require the stove or oven—a bowl of whole-grain cereal with skim milk or maybe a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Don’t get in the habit of making a second meal of their choosing. This strategy gives the child the power to decide, gives parents less exhaustive options, and puts boring limitations on dinner so the child is more likely to venture out.
4. Healthy favorites. Finally, if you absolutely can’t get your kids to stray from their five or six favorite meals, learn to make healthier versions of their staples. If your kids only eat burgers, chicken nuggets, pizza, lasagna or mac and cheese, learn to make healthier versions using leaner meats, reduced-fat cheese and less oil/cooking fat (and try to sneak in some finely chopped vegetables when possible!). I offer healthier versions of many of these recipes in my cookbook, Slim & Scrumptious.
What did I tell you? Genius! What tips do you have for coping with the picky eaters in your household? Please share in the comments for the benefit of all moms! —Erin