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Nutritionist Corner: Picky Teen Eaters

Posted May 22nd, 2015

A customer recently asked for help getting her picky 14 year old son to eat healthy foods. A picky toddler is the typical food refuser. Parents often live with the hope that their beloved child will simply grow out of the food fuss phase, and thankfully most do. However, if you live with a longstanding picky eater here are a few tips to help save you and your child from additional frustration.

1. Parents, without involving your child, make a list of the healthy foods your child enjoys eating. There has to be at least a few fruits, proteins, nuts, cheese or other natural items that your child likes. This will help remind you of the foods to have readily available to help set your child up for success.

2. Involve your child in the cooking process. Especially if your child is always wanting to eat something different than what you are making for yourself and the rest of your family. Let your child modify the foods you prepare, but make them modify the food themselves. As your child reaches the teen years it is an educational opportunity for them to see how food is prepared.

3. Set parameters on snacking. Eating a large snack after school or late in the afternoon will likely interfere with their appetite at dinner. Hunger is a big motivator for kids to try new foods. Set a good example in your personal snacking choices and encourage moderate snacks when needed. Be sure to have a refrigerator and pantry stocked with lots of healthy options.

4. Choose your words wisely. Encourage and support your child’s well thought out nutrition decisions. Unlike toddlers teens can be reasoned with (most of the time), try not to make food rules and regulations. Strive to have open ended discussions that challenge your child to think about why they like eating certain foods

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