Picky Eaters in the Family

I have learned a few things with my children who are extraordinary picky eaters and one suggestion I would like to make is when you have a child that refuses to eat vegetables or there is a particular food group that they cannot stand, try using the "traffic light system". This system says you need to eat something red, something yellow, and something green.

The second thing to do is to ask your child "What red thing are you going to eat, what yellow thing are you going to eat, and what green thing are you going to eat?" Once they have chosen you can tell them they don't have to eat equal amounts of every one, but they do have to try every color. This has worked fabulous! In fact, my (used to be) picky eater said, "Okay, today for my red I want a carrot, for my yellow I want noodles, and for my green I want cucumbers." She didn't even recognize that two out of her three picks were actually vegetables. And this is a child that would refuse vegetables up until this point.

It took about four months for this to be an accepted part of the family routine at mealtime. This doesn't happen over-night, but getting support from your spouse or your neighbors really helps. I think the kids really like the colors, because it makes the plate so appealing. It goes back to this idea of having children decide for themselves, but it has to be healthy choices.

Another helpful hint when you have a picky eater, involve them in the process by helping you cook the meal. My daughter was so thrilled to help me make the sauce for the lasagna that she ended up eating the whole thing and this is something that she had never done before.

Involve them in the process of cooking, of meal-planning and going food shopping. Give them set parameters as to what they can choose, and really have them experience it for themselves.