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Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2019;91:31-39. doi: 10.1159/000493676. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Parental Feeding Practices and Associations with Children's Food Acceptance and Picky Eating.

Abstract

Picky eating, which includes behaviors such as limited dietary variety, neophobia, food refusals, and sensory sensitivities, can be a source of stress for families. Parents can influence their children's mealtime behavior through the feeding practices they use when offering foods. Some practices are counterproductive to establishing healthy eating habits and should be avoided, but caregivers need alternative behaviors to replace them. Parents should be encouraged to keep trying after a food is refused, as children may need to be exposed to a food several times before it is accepted. Varying the preparation changes the taste, texture, and appearance of food, and children may prefer some variants to others. Some children refuse foods to express independence; thus, providing choices between two healthy options may allow children to express a preference without saying "no" altogether. Coercive feeding practices such as the use of pressure to eat or using food as rewards should be avoided, as these can create negative associations with the food or meals and lead to food refusals. Instead, caregivers can model eating and enjoying the food. Nonfood rewards, such as praise or stickers, can also be used to encourage children to taste a food without negative outcomes.

PMID:
30865956
DOI:
10.1159/000493676

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