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12 Tips for Curing Picky Eaters

12 Tips for Curing Picky Eaters

It’s common for many young children to be picky eaters. Your child can happily eat some foods while refusing the others. This can lead to an unbalanced and unhealthy diet, which is something you’ll want to avoid. Whether this is just a short phase or it lasts longer, you can help your child get used to balanced nutrition with a few simple pieces of advice. The thing that most often occurs if your child is a picky eater is a power struggle, and it is important that you hold your ground, use smart tactics and be patient.

1. Don’t spoil your child by giving in and offering their favorite food all the time

Plate full of candy

    If a child refuses food, parents get scared that he or she will stay hungry. However, if this happens you should definitely avoid giving your child his or her favorite food immediately. This is because your child will learn to manipulate you into getting what they want every time, and the food the child wants probably isn’t healthy or rich in essential nutrients. Instead, you can give the child a smaller portion or a healthy snack like some fruit. That way they will not have an empty belly and they will be more eager to eat when it’s time for the next meal.

    2. Have your main meals at a set time each day

    Set meal time

      Three main meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—served at about the same time every day is the key. You can also give your child one or two healthy snacks a day, but not more than that. If a child eats snacks all day, especially before meals, she won’t be hungry and probably will refuse to eat. Many kids would rather have a pack of chips than a balanced meal. If you have meals at a set time of day, the child will eventually get hungry right before the meal, which reduces the chances of him or her refusing to eat. Always keep at least two hours between snacks and meals.

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      3. Feed your kids the same thing you eat

      Set a good example

        Be honest, even you would probably rather eat pizza than something healthy, but if you eat a burger and feed your kids vegetables, they will protest and want the burger, too. Kids look up to you. So if you want to teach your child to eat a variety of food, you should set the example and do it yourself first. And if you are all eating the same thing, your child won’t have a reason to complain.

        4. Have several different types of food at every meal

        Diverse plate

          We all know that a balanced meal has many health benefits. Your child needs over 40 different nutrients every day for good health, and, of course, you cannot find all of that in a single type of food. There are five food groups important for child’s nutrition—dairy, veggies, fruits, grain foods, and meat. All of this combined gives your child enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Besides, when you serve different types of food every time, even if your child refuses to eat some of them, he will still get enough nutrients for the day.

          5. Take away distractions at the dinner table

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          Playing at the table

            Your child should know that when it’s meal time it’s time to eat. That means no TV, no games, and no toys or other distractions at the dinner table! If you let your child play while eating she will learn that the dinner table is a playground and get too distracted to eat. Most kids would rather play than eat, especially if it doesn’t like the food you served. So, save games and toys for the playground and the food for the dinner table.

            6. Teach your kids proper table manners

            rich kids table manners

              Let’s face it—most kids are not neat while eating. They spit and burp and eat with their hands. In order to teach you child proper table manners, what you have to do first is set the example. Don’t let your kid see you eating with your hands, or sitting on the couch. Children imitate what they see. Manners start at the moment you call your children for dinner. One of the first things you have to teach your kids is that they have to wash their hands before meal, find their spot at the table, and sit until everyone is done. Also, try eating with the whole family as much as possible . And, of course, don’t forget to praise your child. When they do something right tell them, “Good job!”

              7. Never try to bribe your child with sweets

              Girl eating doughnut

                Unlike just giving in and letting them eat what they want, some parents try to bribe their kids with the promise of dessert. If you try to bribe a child with sweets she will get used to it and will ask for sweets every time. The child will then associate sweets with some kind of reward and vegetables will become even less appealing compared to sweets. This fosters bad habits and can lead to eating disorders later in life, e.g., eating lots of sweets when you feel bad, or as a reward after a hard day at school or work.

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                Of course, it is alright to give your kids sweets from time to time. If the child is completely restricted from having snacks or sweets, the desire for them will increase, and the probability of a child overeating when they do get the chance to eat sweets is high. Just don’t make them a bargain chip or special reward. You can reward them with fun play time or by teaching them a cool skill.

                8. Make sure they eat at least one bite of everything on the plate

                Healthy food mix

                  Many parents are already familiar with the one-bite rule. It states that the child must eat at least one bite of everything on the plate—it’s as simple as that. The child doesn’t have to like it, they just have to take one bite of each food. The most important thing about this rule is that a child doesn’t have to eat more if they don’t like it, so don’t force your kid to eat more. One bite is one bite. Eventually, the child will probably get used to many different types of food and with some luck, he will eat more than just that one bite.

                  9. Let them try out different recipes with same food

                  Tomato recipes

                    Picky eaters refuse eating many types of food, but in most cases it’s vegetables. You can try to make your child eat something they don’t like by simply changing it a bit. If the kid won’t eat tomatoes, try making a nice tomato sauce, or if she doesn’t like boiled eggs, try making an omelet. For every food your kid hates, you can find a recipe for making it another way, so that your kid doesn’t even know what’s really in the meal.

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                    10. Keep offering your kid different foods he or she gets used to them

                    Child unhappy with dinner choice

                      If your child refuses to eat something, don’t write it off immediately. Just switch to something else. Children will usually need at least 10-15 tries to get used to a new taste. You will just have to be persistent. When a kid doesn’t like the new food the first time, try it again. Kids often smell or touch new food first, so just be patient. There are some easy shortcuts for this problem, like serving new food with your child’s favorite food or the one bite rule mentioned previously.

                      11. Chop up veggies to into small chunks and put them in every dish

                      Frying chopped veggetables

                        Lots of kids hate vegetables. One of the most difficult things is to get your child to eat vegetables, especially if he or she is a picky eater. If you chop up veggies into very small chunks you can put them in every meal without the child even noticing. Be sure to clean the veggies properly first—you don’t want your child to start associating vegetables with stomach problems. Kids often use their eyes to gauge if something seems appealing, and if they see vegetables on the table they will refuse to eat them. You can also cut the food into various shapes with cookie cutters. This way you can get your child to like fruits and vegetables without them knowing.

                        12. Spices and sauces are a great way to help the child associate new foods with a familiar taste

                        A variety of spices

                          If it’s hard to get your child to try new food, you should definitely try this: Is there a spice or sauce your child enjoys? Just put that in the food you are trying to get your kid to eat, and you will get new food but with an old familiar taste. Try putting less of it in the food every time until the child gets used to a new taste. That is a great way to help your child gradually warm up to new food and new tastes.

                          Proper nutrition is vital for a child’s health. Children have their own unique needs regarding food because they are still growing, and it’s up to their parents to fulfill those needs. Always remember that the key for healthy eating is to enjoy a variety of foods. That’s the only way your body can receive all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to function properly. And don’t forget to celebrate small victories—if your child accepts even one type of new food, it is a good start!

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                          Ivan Dimitrijevic

                          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                          Last Updated on November 12, 2020

                          Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                          Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                          If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                          If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                          In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                          What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                          If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                          Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                          • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
                          • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
                          • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                          • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
                          • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                          • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
                          • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                          Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

                          Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                          Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

                          1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
                          2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                          3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                          The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                          Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                          You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

                          Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

                          If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

                          Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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                          Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

                          Symptoms of fatigue include:

                          • Difficulty concentrating
                          • Low stamina
                          • Difficulty sleeping
                          • Anxiety
                          • Low motivation

                          These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                          Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                          How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                          The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                          Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                          Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

                            The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                            Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                            Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

                            If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                            It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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                            4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                            Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                            1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                            2. Exercising regularly
                            3. Using stressbusters
                            4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                            After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                            I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                            Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                            • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
                            • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
                            • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                            • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                            The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

                            Living Healthy

                            Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

                            In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

                            As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                            Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                            1. Unplug

                            Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

                            Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                            2. Unwind

                            Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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                            3. Get Comfortable

                            Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                            Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                            Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

                            This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                            Exercise

                            Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                            That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

                            I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

                            If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                            Attitude

                            Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                            When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

                            But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

                            Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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                            1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
                            2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
                            3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
                            4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
                            5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
                            6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

                            This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                            When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

                            Nutrition

                            Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                            If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

                            Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                            Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                            1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                            2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
                            3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
                            4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
                            5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                            6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
                            7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
                            8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
                            9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

                            Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                            That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                            Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

                            The Bottom Line

                            If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

                            If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

                            Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                            More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

                            Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                            [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                            [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                            [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                            [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
                            [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
                            [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                            [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                            [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
                            [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                            [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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