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You Don't Want a Picky Eater?

If you are the mother of a young child (or many young children), are you concerned that he or she is going to grow up to be a picky eater? Some kids are picky as toddlers; others become picky later. But there are things you can do to minimize the picky phase of your child's life, whenever or if ever it occurs. Here are some tips and ideas.

Lemon Dill Green Beans 

Recent studies have shown that babies who are breastfed longer than six months are less likely to be picky eaters. And if your older baby is picky about his or her solid food, breastfeeding well into the solid food years can help make up for any nutritional deficiencies that could result from the pickiness.

Real food
There's a party game that's sometimes held at baby showers where guests sample baby foods without the benefit of labels. Guests then try to determine what the baby food is made of. The game is challenging, because the jarred baby foods all taste basically the same - bland! Whether they're orange, green, yellow or white, it's very hard to tell just what the food is.

It doesn't take much imagination to see how this could ruin a baby's taste for real food. Once they start trying new foods that aren't in jars and are hit with all that flavor, it's no wonder they refuse the food!

Many experts and nutritionists recommend giving babies small, softened portions of regular food, as long as it is not too highly seasoned with spices and as long as it is not one of the common allergens. Soft fruits can easily be mashed for babies, and soft foods like avocado can be finger foods. As babies get older, they can be introduced to softened, mashed versions of whatever the adults are eating at a meal.

Keep a positive attitude and listen
Most experts agree that mealtimes should not be battles, and food should not be a source of tension or control. Punishing a child for not eating everything on his or her plate is not recommended (in this day of rampant obesity, do we really want to promote over-eating?).

Young children are attuned to their bodies' needs perhaps better than adults, who may have all kinds of emotional and psychological hang-ups about eating. If your child says he or she is full, it's not recommended that you force them to keep eating. Focus on teaching your child to listen to his or her body's cues. Many adults have to re-learn this to keep fit, so why not try to make your child's future a bit easier in this regard?

What do you do to grow a good eater?


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