Parents who consider their child a picky eater may be surprised to learn that by relaxing their rules they may actually ease the problem. In short, when parents offer their children a variety of healthy mealtime and snack choices and then allow their child to chose what and how much to eat, they can reduce their anxiety about their child's eating habits.
The way to get a child to eat is not to try. Forcing your child to eat can make him feel badly about his body and eating and may lead to over- or under-eating. Normal eating is flexible. It is eating a lot one day and very little the next. Most importantly, normal eating is listening to your body's signals so that you are able to eat when hungry and stop when satisfied.
It is important to provide regular scheduled times for meals and snacks. In other words resist letting your child have food available at their fingertips and at all times. Your child will feel secure knowing there will be food available at these scheduled times.
Other tips to ensure a lifetime of healthy eating habits for your child:
Above all don't give up. Acceptance of food is age related. The sooner you introduce a new food in a child's life the sooner they will accept it. If they don't try a new food the first time offer it again at another meal. Children will learn to try and like a variety of foods, but only if it is offered to them.
Adapted from Picky Eaters, InfoU, University of Minnesota Extension Service and Do You Have a Picky Eater at Home?, Nutrition Education for the Public, The American Dietetic Association