Aug 12 2011 --- Providing proper nutrition is one of the most important things moms can do to help kids grow and develop. However, a recent survey by Abbott, the makers of PediaSure nutritional shakes, reveals that getting kids to eat a balanced diet is just as challenging as getting them to do homework. In fact, more than two-thirds of moms surveyed have a picky eater, and nine out of ten of these moms indicate they are unsuccessful at getting their picky eater to eat healthy and nutritious foods every day.
This mealtime "battle" can have a significant emotional toll on moms, with more than two out of three respondents saying that they feel like the "bad guy" when it comes to trying to influence their child’s picky eating. To aid moms in their pursuit of healthy eating habits and restore order to the dinner table, Abbott introduces the PediaSure Mom Brigade, a team of real mom experts with experience in children’s health and nutrition.
The PediaSure Mom Brigade is designed to connect with moms, provide tips and expert advice to help them ensure that, even with picky eaters, they are feeding their children’s potential throughout the year. Members of the Mom Brigade include:
* Dr. Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH – Family physician, who specializes in nutrition and wellness, and mother and cofounder of MommyMDGuides.com and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year.
* Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, FACSM - Registered dietitian and exercise physiologist. Author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes(TM): The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great. Felicia is an on-air personality, journalist, consultant and mom.
* Sylvia Meléndez-Klinger – Registered dietitian and mother, member of the American Dietetic Association and founder of Hispanic Food Communications, a nutrition and culinary communications consulting company.
Moms on Picky Eating: Survey Facts
* 58 percent say their biggest daily challenge is ensuring their child eats healthy and nutritious meals every day.
* Three in four have used persuasive tactics, such as disguising nutritious foods and ingredients (43 percent), giving rewards for eating healthy (38 percent), and bargaining (32 percent).
* 80 percent sometimes feel like they have no control over their child’s picky eating habits.
* More than 75 percent give in to their picky eater rather than struggle.
* 25 percent make a completely separate meal at dinnertime for their picky eater.
* Concerns about picky eating include slower physical growth (42 percent), lack of attention and focus in school (39 percent) and obesity (38 percent).
Helping Moms "Win" At Mealtime
The kitchen table is often a place to discuss current events, school and friends, but picky eating can turn mealtime into a stressful struggle over what a child will or will not eat. PediaSure’s Mom Brigade offers the following tips for turning mealtime chaos into an opportunity for teaching healthy eating habits.
1. Make dinner a group activity. Eat together! Children like to eat with their whole family, and eating as a group allows you to set a good example of which foods are nutritious. Designate a family dinner night where everyone can be together while eating, and it just might become your child’s favorite night and meal of the week.
2. Help children get involved. Every mom knows that children love to help and by letting your picky eater help with the meal preparation process they are more likely to enjoy the final product. Cooking meals can be fun, and children may eat foods they help to prepare.
3. Teaching healthy habits for life is the ultimate goal. For moms with picky eaters, patience is key because the problem won’t be solved overnight. It is important to provide some freedom for children to eat his or her own way, rather than forcing them to eat. In the meantime, to help with a child’s daily nutritional well-being and for mom’s peace of mind, try PediaSure or PediaSure SideKicks. PediaSure is a source of complete, balanced nutrition that’s clinically proven to help children grow*. For picky eaters who are not behind on the growth curve, PediaSure SideKicks is a source of supplemental nutrition to help balance out their uneven diet.
4. When children are given the opportunity to observe other children eating vegetables that they themselves previously refused to eat, their intake of the vegetable increases significantly. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to serve nutritious foods at play dates and at family get-togethers. If one child eats his carrots and broccoli with gusto, the rest of the children are likely to follow suit.
5. It’s important to allow young children to make some decisions, including decisions about which foods to eat as long as those foods meet your approval. The key is to create a win-win situation by offering your child a choice between two similar, wholesome foods. Whichever food they choose, they’ll be getting good nutrition and you’ll be happy.
Commentary on Picky Eating:
From Dr. Rallie McAllister, MD, MDH, family physician, nutrition specialist, mother
"It would be great if our children ate every nutritious meal we fed them, but the fact is that when it comes to eating, they definitely have minds of their own. The good news is that while moms are encouraging their children to opt for healthy choices, they can help keep their child’s daily nutritional well-being on track with PediaSure."
From Tama Bloch, RD, research scientist, Abbott Nutrition
"If moms are struggling with a daily picky eater, their child may not be getting essential nutrients for growth and development. The scientists at Abbott, like me, are constantly working to identify new ways to address nutritional challenges so that a child’s nutrition is a little less worrisome to mom."
From Katherine Doyle, vice president, Pediatric Nutrition, Abbott Nutrition
"We understand that mom wants to ensure her child practices lifelong healthy eating habits. By empowering moms with expert information on nutrition and mealtime tips, PediaSure is sharing tools to help make sure our children get good, balanced nutrition every day."