The National Parenting Center

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Finicky Eaters

Children of all ages and most adults have some food dislikes. If this is the case in your home consider the following:

• First, most complaints are about vegetables such as spinach or broccoli. Vegetables are over rated. There are no essential foods, just essential food groups. Since fruits and vegetables are in the same group, one can go through life eating little if any vegetables without harm if one enjoys fruits.

• Second, if your child has a strong food dislike, as with one that makes him gag or vomit, that food should no longer be served to him.

• Third, for other food dislikes that don’t cause physical reactions, have a minimal amount rule. Tell your child that he must taste each food, that’s all. By age five you can pass a law requiring one bite per year of age. The six year old eats six peas.

• Fourth, don’t make desserts an area of friction, since desserts are not harmful. Allow your child one serving, as long as he tries the foods he dislikes.

In summary, keeping meal time pleasant is your highest priority. If you’re still worried about your picky eater, just give him a vitamin pill once or twice a week.

During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.


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