Picky Eaters: How NOT to Become a Short Order Cooke is a guest post written by Nicole Yontz. Nicole is a parenting writer for WhatToExpect.com and the writer of TheBetterHalfBlogs.com.

Order up!

Does this sound familiar? Do you make dinner for the family only to end up spending your mealtime making new meals to satisfy the picky eater in your family? It’s time to stop! It’s time to take off your apron and take back your kitchen once and for all!

Sitting down for a meal doesn’t have to be a battle with a little bit of knowledge, creativity and a smidge of patience. For the most part, being a picky eater is going to be a phase in your child’s life, so ride out the storm with a good attitude. Being anxious, worried or frustrated every time your child sits down to eat will only rub off on your child, and in turn make them anxious and frustrated as well.

Believe it or not, mealtime with a picky eater can be fun if you make it! Creating counting games with pieces of fruit, seeing who can eat the most pieces of broccoli, and even cheering on each and every bite (if that’s what it comes down to) will encourage your little one. Also, try adding a plate with different dipping sauces for your child to mix, match and try. This will feed their curiosity as well as their bellies.

Getting your children involved in the meal planning and cooking process is also another good way of a picky eater to eat. Grab a stool and let your little one stir, sprinkle or even decide what the family is having for dinner. Getting them involved will make meal time fun and help them take ownership and pride in what they are eating even if it’s mac n’ cheese (again) on the menu.

Children thrive on a routine; this knowledge can help when it comes to your picky eater as well. If every afternoon they have their nap then lunch or vise versa, at the same time of the day, this will help ready your child in their mind to eat, and this can be half the battle. But be prepared for inconsistencies. What was great this week will be complete chaos next week. Eggs will be at the top of the list and then untouched the next. What your child chooses to eat may change, but the one thing you can control and count on will be WHEN.

Lastly, keep in mind that a child’s stomach is only as big as their fist so half an orange and some juice might be enough to completely fill them to the brink. If they are only nibbling and snacking then make the most of the calories they do get. Pick high impact foods like avocado, eggs, peanut butter, brown rice, cheese, fish and yogurt. If you are still worried about whether or not they are getting enough nutrition, add supplemental snacks like yummy tasting protein shakes and chewable vitamins.

Taming the picky toddler doesn’t have to be it’s own special kind of nightmare. All we have to do is remember we are the older, wiser, and sometimes trickier parents and use that to our advantage! Bon apetite!

Photo Credit: blogs.webmd.com