Sunday, April 12, 2009

Practical Help for Picky Eaters: Part VII

Does your picky eater have his/her own cookbook? Picture cookbooks are an excellent resource for picky eaters as well as a great way to expose your child to food without the added pressure to eat anything. While adult cookbooks with pictures are good, children's cookbooks do a much better job of drawing in children and keeping their attention.

You've heard me say it before--picky eaters need positive experiences with a wide variety of foods. They need the exposure without any pressure to actually eat. The exposure can be as varied as your imagination, but as a busy parent, I understand that there are not enough hours in each day to do all the things we would like for our picky eater. It is not always easy or convenient to make special trips to farmer's markets, visit local farms, and pick your own berries. One way to supplement your child's exposure is as simple as opening up a cookbook!

My son's personal favorite is The Better Homes & Gardens New Junior Cookbook, but there are many children's cookbooks currently available. Regardless of the cookbook, the illustrations are generally colorful, inviting, animated, and funny. Kids eat this stuff up! The authors take a variety of topics that kids love (i.e., football, aliens/outer space, dogs, & science experiments) and interweave them into the recipes.

In the Better Homes & Garden New Junior Cookbook, each recipe has a fun name that generally appeals to both girls and boys. You'll find recipes like Eye-Poppin' Popcorn, Mighty Melts, Gimme S'more Please, and Chilly Burgers. (You may remember Chilly Burgers from a previous post.)

The ingredients and utensils needed are clearly listed. The instructions are straight-forward and written in a child-friendly format, with kid tips, prep time, bake time, and nutritional information included.

The best part about it is you don't even need to make a thing to get the benefit from the cookbook. Even if your picky eater is simply looking through the pages, and nothing else, he/she is receiving some positive experiences from the vivid images of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

But chances are, if your picky eater is anything like mine, he/she will want to make at least one recipe from his/her cookbook! If looking at pictures in a cookbook inspires your picky eater to actually make something, please jump at the chance. Make a list of ingredients together. Go grocery shopping together. Make the recipe together, but then do not ask or encourage him/her to take one single bite. Not even one.

Remember, the whole reason you are doing this is for positive exposure to food without any pressure to eat....your picky eater will benefit from this without eating one bite. It will be difficult, but bite your tongue. Keep quiet and follow your child's lead and the experience will positively impact your picky eater! I promise.

Even I want to make some Say "Cheese" Cake after reading the recipe.

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