Holiday Parties and Picky Eaters

holidays with picky eatersThe Holidays can wreak nutritional havoc on any child’s eating habits- and picky eaters can contribute much undue stress and conflict if we choose to let their preferences take center spotlight.  You may be at a family feast or friendly festivity when you’ll hear those words you’ve been dreading, like: “I don’t like chicken cordon bleu; I only eat chicken nuggets!” or “I don’t want those vegetables—I see cookies!”

When you  hear words like this, you’ll probably feel flush and yes, it can be challenging, to say the least, to feel good about the food our children choose to eat—or not eat—at parties. But how we respond determines how long this will drag out, how upset everyone will end up or how much time energy will get sucked into a fight over food. Because so much relies on our reactions, it’s helpful to keep these in mind:

  • Feed her first, then let it go. If you are really worried about it, make sure your child has a healthy snack or meal before going to the party.
  • Participate in the potluck! Offer to bring something, and then bring a healthy meal or side dish that you know your children like and will eat.
  • Be proactive vs. reactive as sugar mania sets in. Talk with your children ahead of time about all the goodies they’ll see and make an agreement on how many sweets they should have, over the course of the party. Just don’t get too distressed if the temptations override the commitment. Afterall, it’s not everyday you have 8 pies and 35 cookie trays to choose from!
  • Let it go.  The bottom line is —one day of bad eating will not ruin your child’s health, and most likely they will remember the party as a whole lot of fun!

The most important thing we can do is help our children develop healthy eating habits during the rest of the year, so that eating well becomes part of who they are. When this happens, children will be more likely to find the balance between eating good and bad items—even at a party. Besides, if you’ve every had too much of a good thing, then well, you know there are lessons to be learned that you’ll only discover for yourself via indulgence.

Happy Holidays!

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