WASHINGTON - While it can be difficult to get kids to eat what's good for them, a new study says that parents should stop being so pushy when it comes to their kids who are picky eaters.
Dr. Shilpi Agarwal joined the crew on Good Day DC to talk about how to handle picky eaters, while making meal times fun and stress-free.
Dr. Agarwal says between the ages of really late twos to threes all the way up to six when kids start to refuse things and begin to know what they like. They like to assert their independence they like to say "I really don't like that. I don't like the texture of it."
She says it is recommended to introduce as many foods as you can to a young toddler.
She says the study showed that despite kids becoming picky or not liking certain foods, it did not impact their long-term growth.
But she also says encouraging kids to have "just one bite" of a food they don't like adds anxiety to mealtime and can make the dinner table a tense environment. The same goes for threatening kids to eat the food on their plate in order to get dessert.
Dr. Agarwal recommends using kid-friendly foods cut in fun shapes can help. She also says putting certain foods on a plate can help as a suggestion without forcing a kid to eat it. If they see their parents are eating it too, they may be more likely to try it without being asked.
Allison Seymour says as a parent, it can be hard to have meal-time without feeling like you're running a cafeteria.
"I think we need to focus on making sure there's one thing that's generally liked by everybody," is important.
But also "make it clear that if you don't eat what you get, there isn't the option to later then go into the pantry and have ten snacks. We don't want to force -- but it should be clear that this is mealtime. So it's kind of like, you know, at my son's school they say 'you get what you get and you don't get upset.'"