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Top 10 Picky Eating Tips For Parents

Struggling with a picky eater? Try some of the following tips.

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1. Pay attention to your child's appetite.

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Don't make your child "clean" the plate. If they aren't hungry, forcing them to eat may only make them dread future mealtimes.

2. Be patient.

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Children may need to try a new food several times before they end up enjoying it. Have them touch or smell the food first to get used to it.

3. And don't give up.

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Positive exposure to new foods typically takes between 12-20 tries. Most parents give up after 5.

4. Get creative.

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Cut new foods into fun shapes. Add veggies to things like spaghetti sauce or soups. Or sweeten things up with added fruit.

5. Create a routine.

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Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. Try to serve meals and snacks near the same times every day. But be careful not to let them fill up on snacks throughout the day. It might decrease his or her appetite at mealtimes.

6. Have your child help.

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Involve them at the grocery story. Have them help you pick out fruits and vegetables. Once you get home, include them in the meal preparation. Have you child help you rinse veggies, stir things, or set the table.

7. Be a role model.

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Let's face it, you're kind of a big deal to your kid. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, they may do the same.

8. Turn off the screens.

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Avoid the distractions. Turn off the TV, phones, or anything with a screen. Keep the focus on eating and mealtime conversation.

9. Don't prepare a separate meal.

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Making separate meals for your child may encourage picky eating. Be patient and keep serving those healthy foods. Remember, it takes multiple exposures for children to get used to new food.

10. Rethink dessert.

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Serving dessert as a reward may increase your child's desire for sweets. You might only have one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week. Or completely rethink it. Substitute fruit, yogurt, or other healthy choices instead of the traditional sweets.

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