Help! My Kid is a Picky Eater

This September, we’re focusing on Childhood Obesity Awareness month.  Following is part two in our four-part series presented in conjunction with Texas Children’s Pediatrics on childhood nutrition and exercise.

Child refuses to eat his broccoliI have picky eaters in the family. How can I get them to like healthy food?

This is one of the most difficult, yet common, roadblocks parents run into. The best advice I can give parents is to continue to retry different types of foods; just because your child didn’t like something the first time doesn’t mean he or she won’t the second or third time. Also, try preparing food items in a variety of ways as acquiring tastes for different foods can take time.

How do I know the difference between a picky eater and an underlying medical problem?

If you’re concerned that your child’s selective eating habits are more than just that of a picky eater, you can always have your primary care physician make a referral to the Clinical Nutrition Services to see a registered dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital. We really take the time to understand your concern. Nutrition and healthy eating affects the entire family, so we listen to parents, answer your questions and respond in a way that is centered around your entire family.

I don’t want my child to feel that he or she never can eat anything sweet. Are there some snack or desert options I can give my child? There are plenty of ways you can take something nutritious, like a fruit or vegetable, and add something sweet to create a healthy snack or dessert. Some options include:

  • Homemade fruit pops – take a banana, dip it in yogurt & freeze it
  • The old favorite – “ants on a log” – celery, peanut butter and raisins (or substitute for cream cheese)
  • Ice cream sundae using frozen yogurt and graham crackers
  • Homemade baked French fries or try homemade baked sweet potato fries for a special treat

Texas Children's Pediatrics logoThanks to Texas Children’s dietitian Dawn Bunting for this article.  Later this week, we’ll chat with a physical therapist and pediatric clinical dietitian about exercise and nutrition.

Learn more about Texas Children’s Pediatrics here.  Find information on the YMCA’s exercise classes for families and children by clicking here.  Don’t know which YMCA is closest to you?  We can help you find your Y.

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