Healthy Kids First: Food Jags; What They are and How to Overcome Them at Dinnertime
By Mandy Curry on June 08, 2012 from Healthy Kids First
- Fruit is a frequent choice during a food jag. It's a familiar food group, it tastes good, and children have generally been exposed to it from an early age. Continue to offer fruit at each meal along with other healthy options. Children who fear or refuse new foods often need many exposures before they are willing to try them.
- Experiment with cooking methods. Sometimes children have aversions to certain textures or temperatures. Your child may love raw carrots and refuse them when cooked, while preferring steamed broccoli over raw.
- Parents need to give new foods a chance. I’ve seen many parents surprised at what their children are willing to try when offered.
- Never bribe or coerce children to try other foods. Children like to assert their independence, which can be good, but will also lead to a power struggle during mealtimes. Simply offer your child the same meal as the family and allow them to make the choice to eat it or not.
- Never enforce the “clean your plate club.” Children should be allowed to stop eating when they are no longer hungry.
- Be a good role model for your child. BOTH parents should be eating the meal without complaint. Children are excellent imitators, and if you don’t eat it, they won’t either.
- Avoid large snacks or high sugar snacks in between mealsto allow your children to become sufficiently hungry.
- Remember that children are born with internal hunger cues and they will not starve themselves. Food jags are generally short lived and will not have a negative impact on their nutrition as long as parents continue to offer a variety of healthy foods.