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Feeding Picky Eaters
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If kids are snacking all day long they won't have ______________ at mealtime.
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Hi, I'm Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Every mom struggles with trying to ensure her kids get enough to eat and that they eat the right foods. We hear and read so much today about childhood obesity but in our house it is sometimes a struggle just to get the kids to eat.

If you have a picky eater you know what I am talking about. I want to share a few ideas I have been using to deal with the picky eater in our house.

Keep Mealtimes Relaxed

To be honest, I am kind of a picky eater myself so I guess it is no surprise that my daughter sometimes puts up a fuss at the dinner table. I have discussed this problem with child nutrition experts and the first piece of advice I got was to relax. All kids will eat when they are hungry so do not make a big deal if your child skips a meal or only picks around the edges.

Offer a Variety of Food

The second tip I am working on is to offer a variety of wholesome foods. Children benefit when they are exposed to an assortment of good food. Even if your kids do not like a particular item once, try offering it again, as tastes change as kids grow older.

Make Sampling Rules

Encourage children to sample at least one bite of everything. I like to suggest they take one bite for each year. Using this trick, most of the time I can get my 3 year old to try 3 bites of just about anything.

Stay Away From Junk Food

Do not serve junk food and do not keep it in your home. For your own health and that of your kids, save the junk food for special occasions or times when you are eating away from home.

If you are serving healthy food, why worry if your child does not try everything? At least the bites she does eat will be good for her.

Monitor Snacking

Limit between-meal snacking. Children do have smaller stomachs so it is O.K. to provide some healthy snacks between meals but it makes sense that if kids are snacking all day long, they will not have an appetite at mealtime. Keep a variety of healthy, easy-to-serve finger foods like carrot sticks or apple slices on hand for times when snacks are needed.

I hope you will try some of these ideas around your dinner table. Remember your kids are always watching what you do, so eat a variety of healthy foods yourself and your kids will follow your good example.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at parenting.about.com
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