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Using MyPlate to Help with Picky Eaters

Posted by Jackie Vega on

Got a picky eater? A great way to get beyond the struggle is to use MyPlate for kids!

portion control plate choose myplate

Ah, yes. Being a pediatric dietitian for several years now, writing hundreds of meal plans geared towards families and of course, being a mother of 2 myself, I know picky eating. Even more, I know how frustrating it can be.

Currently, my kids are nearing 13 and 11. They are very different in there eating styles as are my husband and myself. Many people feel that being a dietitian would make my life easier. False. This is why I love using MyPlate for kids to help families jump this hurdle.

Here are 5 big tips to keep those picky eaters happy and your stress levels greatly reduced.

TIP ONE: Find out what meals they really love...I mean REALLY, love.

When we know what our families love we can easily incorporate it into our weekly meal plans. This will not only make them happy but it will give you one less day to figure out what will be served.

Now I am not saying to always give them what they want, because we all need variety, but serving favorites will likely encourage your family to giving more and more meal ideas each week.

TIP TWO: Use MyPlate to encourage your kids to share their favorite food ideas with you.

Grab your MyPlate and ask your kids what’s their favorite fruit, vegetable, grain and protein. This way, when you are serving something new, you can at least offer a side option that is familiar and loved.

By using a visual such as MyPlate while planning weekly meals you can also get your family used to meal planning in general, and this is a life skill all kids need.

TIP THREE: Find a different place and time to serve food items your kids are simply not choosing.

Plan a taste testing party with the neighborhood kids or at your next family festivity. Bring out the MyPlate and some new (and familiar) food options. Have kids place the foods where they belong on the plate and then offer samples for everyone to try.

This will get your kids used to seeing the new foods under a less stressful situation and they will eventually give it a try. 

TIP FOUR: Whip up a shake by having your kids add ingredients to the blender.

I know it’s all blended up but the important part is for your kids to see and feel the new food. It may seem like something you would do with a baby (all pureed and blended) but it’s truly all part of the process. Kids want to know what they are being served and feel OK about new foods.

One step at a time and eventually you can add those new foods to their plate and watch them gobble it up!

TIP FIVE: Plan and prepare meals with your kids by your side.

Give kids the reins when it comes to meal planning and prepping. They love to take control and when they become more involved in the kitchen they will see those new foods in a different light.  They will eventually serve it to themselves and either enjoy it, or have a true dislike to it because they have tried it enough to know.

    Just by using something as simple and fun as the MyPlate and by getting kids involved in the process of meal planning and prepping, can make for a less stressed momma and happy, healthy kiddos.

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