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Pleasing the Picky Eater
There it sits: a lonely slice of meat loaf, its only companion an untouched side of green beans and a slightly sampled helping of mashed potatoes.

Picky eaters can test even the most patient parents. But it's a lot easier to cope with a picky eater when you understand why he is being so particular. Here are some reasons why your child might be the finicky foodie of the block:

He's exerting control.

When your child was a baby, you had to cater to your child's every need. As a child grows and learns, he discovers he can impact his environment—and test his boundaries.

She's just not hungry.

A child's appetite changes according to her growth rate. So, some weeks she will be hungrier than others. And remember—it doesn't take much to satisfy smaller tummies.

He's afraid of the unknown.

Children thrive on routine and familiarity. When you present something new, they can become suspicious—even afraid. Keep trying—one day the food might become familiar enough that they'll eat it.

Now that you know why your child might be picky, it's time to learn what to do about it. Obviously, you need to feed your child. Instead of resorting to games or losing your cool, try these tricks:
  • Keep on keeping on. You might have to serve your child a new food eight times before he decides he loves it.
  • Rename your meals, and incorporate your child's current obsession. He's in a dinosaur phase? Serve up some T-Rex Turkey Casserole or Stegosaurus Squash.
  • Serve a new or different food with old favourites. That piece of spinach might just slide down easier when accompanied by mac and cheese.
  • Eat as a family. The convenience of separate mealtimes might be, well, convenient, but if your child sees you finishing your serving of peas, she might be inclined to do the same.
  • Let your child help. If your child takes part in the hard work that goes into meal preparation, she might be more willing to try (and enjoy) the end product.

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