Parents of picky eaters – you are not alone!

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, July 17, 2019
By Dr. Sabina Garcia

ATTN Parents of picky eaters – you are not alone! You are a great parent! Your LO will not NOT starve, hang in there….

When my little one (LO) was born, I swore he would only get from me, the very best. I dedicated myself to making sure every single detail was perfect for his arrival. I read every single label of things I purchased, when I say everything I’m talking about reading shampoo bottle labels, clothes labels, toy labels, EVERYTHING! I wanted to make sure that it was safe and age appropriate. At 6 months when he got the all clear to start solids, I spared no expense to make sure that my LO’s first food experience was not only amazing to him, but nutritious as well. I bought the healthiest vegetables, the best looking fruits and I felt so happy when he would eat it all and even happier (and proud) when the Pediatrician, in his check-ups would tell us that LO was weighing and measuring exactly as he should. I was so sure he was not going to be a picky eater (ugly laughing at this right now – I was so naive).

Of course the 2’s rolled around and along with walking, came the word “NO!!” and all the pickiness in the world. It became such a battle to feed him those nutritious foods he once loved. Of course I freaked – what will he eat? He will waste away! Then there’s all the judgement from family members who either DON’T have kids or have been blessed with non picky eaters. Thankfully, the pediatrician put my mind at ease when his check up came around and he was perfectly healthy. She also said something I will never forget, “Listen, he will not starve himself, sure he won’t eat the vegetables and fruits like he used to, but offer him other choices you are comfortable with and go from there…” Those words… he will not starve himself, were game changer. I felt better leaving the doctor’s office and I immediately stopped stressing and fighting with him to eat. Sure, I continued to introduced new foods and was over the moon when he accepted them but didn’t despair when he said “NO”. Not proud to say that for sometime my LO had a short list of foods he lived on. But you know what? He did NOT starve, and he was completely healthy. And me? I was sane!

My LO is now 10, less of a picky eater now, but he has his moments.

So if you’re the mom of a picky eater, devouring every article on how to get your LO to eat, loosing sleep and feeling like you failed – STOP. BREATHE. It is not your fault. It happens. Know that your LO will NOT STARVE, and if you make a list of everything that they DO like and eat you might see that the situation is not as dire as you might perceive it. The secret to winning the battle against a picky eater is simply not to stress the food. Continue to introduce new foods along with foods that your LO already loves and be casual about it when they reject it and make a huge deal when they do eat it. According to nutritionist, it takes about 10-15 times of introducing the same food before a child might decide to try it– so be patient, don’t push, don’t obligate, don’t punish. Another tip is to be more conscious when buying the food items your LO likes, meaning, if your child loves juice, make sure you buy 100% natural fruit juice with no added sugars. Learn how to read food labels so that you can see and monitor the intake of sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats. Lastly, check out, not only will you find new kid friendly recipes and snack ideas, there’s this useful tool called, my plate. When you fill out your LO’s age and weight it tells you exactly what and how much of all the food groups your LO should be eating. Trust me, it’s a great tool! Finally, don’t listen to all the noise. Know that YOU are ENOUGH, you are DOING ENOUGH AND YOU ARE A GREAT PARENT!!