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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 September 16, 2019

                          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                          You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                          We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                          The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                          Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                          1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                          Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                          For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                          • (1) Research
                          • (2) Deciding the topic
                          • (3) Creating the outline
                          • (4) Drafting the content
                          • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                          • (6) Revision
                          • (7) etc.

                          Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                          2. Change Your Environment

                          Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                          One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                          3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                          Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                          Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                          My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                          Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                          4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                          If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                          Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                          I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                          5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                          I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                          Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                          As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                          6. Get a Buddy

                          Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                          I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                          7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                          This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                          For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                          8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                          What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                          9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                          If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                          Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                          10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                          Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                          Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                          11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                          At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                          Reality check:

                          I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                          More About Procrastination

                          Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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