Dealing With a Picky Eater         

Getting a picky eater to eat a nutritious meal doesn’t have to be a battle. Here are some things to try:

  • Add healthy fruits and vegetables to foods that your child already likes. For example, add blueberries to pancakes, carrots to muffins, fruit slices to a bowl of cereal, chunks of bell pepper to potato salad, or shredded veggies over rice.
  • Include your kids when you grocery shop. By being involved in choosing the foods at the grocery store they may be more likely to eat it. When your kids shop with you, have them look for the heart-check mark that shows which foods are certified by the American Heart Association to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Keep healthy foods on hand – water or 100 percent juice instead of colas or fruit drinks, and a bag of apples instead of a bag of chips.
  • Have healthy finger foods available. Kids like to pick up foods, so give them foods they can handle. Fruit and veggie chunks (raw or cooked) are great finger-food options.
  • Repeal the “clean your plate” rule, even if your child loads a plate up with more food than they can eat. Kids know when they’re full, so let them stop and help them learn to take smaller servings next time.
  • Don’t cut out treats altogether. Think moderation. A scoop of ice cream or a serving of cookies is okay occasionally. If you cut out goodies, your kids will be more likely to over indulge when they get them.
  • Take Control of Portion Sizes
  • Portion size has a lot to do with why our kids are struggling with their weight – our kids are getting far more calories than they need.
  • To control portions, know what is considered a normal portion. You may be surprised to learn these are serving sizes:
  • -1 slice of bread
  • -1/2 cup rice or pasta (cooked)
  • -1 small piece of fruit (a super-large apple is 2+ servings)
  • -1/2 cup cooked vegetable or 1 cup raw leafy vegetable
  • -3/4 cup fruit juice
  • -1 cup milk or yogurt
  • -2 ounces cheese (about the size of a domino)
  • -2 to 3 ounces meat, poultry or fish (this is about the size of a deck of cards)

Make Fast Food Friendlier

If you eat on the go, use these tips to make fast food healthier for both your kids and yourself:

  • Pass on the value size. When you increase the size, your bucket of fries isn’t the only thing that gets bigger.
  • Skip the sides. Eating a burger or sandwich by itself is often filling enough. If you do want a side, consider ordering fruit or a side salad instead of French fries.
  • Avoid double meat and bacon. You’re probably getting more than you need with a single meat patty. Bacon is high in calories and fat with little nutrient content.
  • Try the grilled chicken sandwich. Poultry without skin is significantly leaner than the meats most fast-food companies use in their burgers. Beware of breaded deep fried chicken, which is loaded with calories and fat.
  • Eat your sandwich open-faced. By eating only half the bun, you can eliminate calories.
  • Pay attention to the calories in condiments – choose mustard instead of mayo or other calorie-laden dressings and sauces.
  • Drink water, diet soda or low-fat milk. Regular sodas are loaded with sugars, which have calories you don’t need.
  • The best way to influence kids is by example. Be a good role model – your family’s health depends on it.
  • To learn more about healthy eating, visit
  • Shop smart! Live well! Look for the heart-check mark!

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