Few things are more frustrating than serving a meal to a child who will not eat it. This week I chatted with Caitlyn Edson, a pediatric registered dietitian in Saratoga Springs, NY. Caitlyn SCOOPED about how we, as parents, can help our picky eaters, and the tips that she shares with her clients and families who are struggling at mealtime.

MAKE ONLY ONE MEAL FOR EVERYONE. Most parents who come to her are making multiple meals for their children, and often a separate one for themselves. When your kids know that you are willing to make them a different meal, they’re much more likely to refuse what ‘s in front of them.

ALWAYS INCLUDE A “SAFE” FOOD. Be sure to have a preferred food on the child’s plate, in addition to the uncomfortable foods. This may be buttered bread, or a fruit or vegetable that they love. When they see this, they’ll consider the meal safe, knowing there’s something that they’ll eat, and YOU’LL feel better because YOU know that there is something that they’ll eat.

FOLLOW A ROUGH MEAL OR SNACK SCHEDULE. This may not be perfect with work and school, but AIM for feeding them three meals a day, with designated snack times spaced throughout. In between, CLOSE THE KITCHEN. This prevents grazing, and they’re much more likely to eat when they know that they will not have another chance for 2-3 hours.

START RIGHT AWAY. It’s never too late, but it could get more difficult to fix as your child gets older.

If you do feel that you need one-on-one support to help your child with his or her picky eating, Caitlyn offers several virtual services. Details can be found at HERE.

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