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Ask An Expert: How To Give Your Picky Eater More Healthy Foods

The increased attention on the importance of getting active and eating healthier foods has given rise to government initiatives like the "Let's Move!" program to help fight childhood obesity. While many parents are putting more focus on purchasing organic food for their children and enrolling them in extracurricular activities, there can still be some resistance for those with picky eaters. As a former preschool teacher and a mother of four, Laura Roby offers some great insight into how to give a picky eater more healthy foods. Take advantage of some of the tips she offers, and see how you can transform your own picky eater.

Laura Roby (Courtesy of Laura Roby)

Laura Roby
Camp Crayon Preschool
806 Holbek Dr.
Antioch, IL 60002
(847) 838-4330

Laura Roby worked as a preschool teacher for four years at Camp Crayon Preschool offered through the Village of Antioch Parks & Recreation Department program. After taking some time off to raise her twin daughters, Roby and her husband added an additional set of twin boys to their family. While raising her four children, Roby finished her degree in Early Childhood Education at Kendall College. Her experience working with children professionally and at home gives her a unique perspective on how to get a picky eater to eat more healthy foods.

Shop Smarter

"When doing your grocery shopping, look for healthier options for snack and meal times. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole wheat breads and whole wheat pastas offer a way to make your child's favorite meal healthier. This is also a great opportunity for you to let your child grocery shop with you. Make your child their own list; pictures can be used if they do not know how to read. With your child in charge of shopping for the fruits and vegetables, they may be more willing to eat what they picked out."

Get Creative

"In my time as a teacher and parent, I have learned that children love to be creative. Whether it's incorporating color or shapes, kids will enjoy it all. Freehand or using a cookie cutter, cut their initials out of their favorite sandwich or cut cheese or fruit into fun shapes such as hearts for Valentine's Day or shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day. The options are endless; besides blueberry pancakes always taste better when they are shaped like Mickey Mouse."

Put Your Chef Hat On

"Let your child cook with you! I have learned that a child is more willing to try something new when they have had a hand in making it. When making a recipe, let your child help measure out the ingredients or pour them into the bowl. If you don't work from a recipe, it can be something as simple as stirring, sprinkling in seasoning, or even just setting the timer and putting them in charge of telling you when it's ready. They will feel empowered by having a job, and will be proud of the creation you have made together."

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It's In The Sauce

"Using sauces is a great way to sneak in some food that is healthy for you and your children. To do this, you will need to steam your vegetables to get them nice and soft, and then mix the vegetables in a food processor to the consistency you would like. Once that is done, mix it into your sauce and serve. Vegetables can also be a substitute for similar looking food. You can make mashed potatoes using cauliflower or spaghetti noodles using squash."

Play To Their Favorites

"Find something that your child likes, and create something around that. Fruit smoothies are a big hit in my house. Let your child help you shop for the items, and then prepare it with you. This is also an opportunity to sneak in a few things, since it will all be blended together. We also use our smoothie mix to make homemade popsicles, which is a much healthier alternative to store bought."

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Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor's in Communication and is currently working on her Master's. Her work can be found on


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