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When your child refuses to eat the meal you put in front of him, it can be tempting to offer sugary snacks as a way of filling him up.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and lost your appetite because the portion you were served was excessively large? When your child refuses to eat or try something new, it can be tempting to threaten him with a punishment if he does not comply with your wishes. If your child is fussy about food, you may worry whether or not he is getting all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals he needs in his diet. Sun dried tomatoes and canned or bottled tomato products (such as tomato paste, sauce, soups, juice, ketchup, and tomato based chili or hot sauces) are all concentrated sources of lycopene.
Other produce rich in lycopenes (think deep red or pink) include watermelon (which actually contains more lycopene than tomatoes!), purple grapes, pink or red grapefruit, apricots, plums, red bell peppers, papaya, and guava. Next on the grocery list are foods rich in betacarotene, another antioxidant that has natural sunscreen properties. Other betacarotene rich foods include sweet potatoes, apricots, squash, pumpkins, papaya, and mango (think deep orange pigment). Looking for more foods providing sun protection?  Eat some walnuts, which are high in essential fatty acids, which may also protect against sunburn. Finally, look to foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a natural anti-inflammatory that may also protect against sunburn and cellular damage that can lead to skin cancer. So if you are heading out in the sun, why not have a glass of orange juice and grapefruit topped with strawberries for breakfast, a leafy green spinach salad with mushrooms and tomato juice for lunch, almonds or walnuts for a snack, and salmon with kale for dinner? Pediatrician, parenting and child wellness expert, author of a children's book promoting healthy eating, and mom to William. Sloppy Joe's are a perennial childhood favorite, but the canned version lacks depth of flavor. This recipe is versatile, and can be made into a sloppy Joe stew or soup; see notes for these instructions.
This is a topic near and dear to me, as I want to see all our families succeed on the Healthy Kids Program.
For us to exert the significant effort required to achieve our goals they must be compelling; we must truly believe they are worth the time and effort. We are forty-two percent more likely to achieve a goal if we write it down.  So, write it down to make it happen!
Christmas is the perfect time for gratitude, and it is something we can actively promote in our children. A study on the impact of gratitude published in the Journal of School Psychology looked at more than 200 middle school students, and found that those students that wrote down five things they were grateful for each day for two weeks had higher levels of optimism, increased life satisfaction, and decreased negative feelings.
Because children learn best by observation and repetition, an attitude of gratitude can start with YOU!
For kids, the weeks leading up to Christmas is often about focusing on what they want and don’t have. Turkey Pot Pie Is A Great Thanksgiving Leftover, But Chicken Pot Pie Is Good Comfort Food, Too! And since this recipe was originally for chicken pot pie, you can make a  chicken pot pie the rest of the year by simply substituting 3 cups of cooked chicken for the turkey.
This includes a recipe link for a homemade crust that is flaky and easy, but you can use refrigerated pie crust, or biscuits for topping.
Now that food-focused holidays are fast approaching, here are some tips for helping picky eaters and reducing mealtime stress. Be sure there are one or two items on the table that your child will enjoy, but do not cater to the picky eater (this could be bread and butter, milk, corn, etc.). If the thought of eating with all the grownups overwhelms your child, consider a kiddie table, but do not feed children before the big meal or serve them different food.
A great way to encourage children to enjoy the meal is to have them help prepare for the meal. A child that comes to the holiday table hungry (but not starving) is more likely to eat, so don't overdo the appitizers. While we normally recommend that children take one bite of all new foods served, avoid this at holiday meals.
If you do this, your child will be even less apt to fill up with nutritious food at mealtimes. Some adults get overwhelmed when they see food portions they cannot handle, and kids are no different.

If you are concerned about your child’s nutrition, you should monitor everything he eats over a period of one week.
Therefore a parent who is finicky about food cannot expect their child to have an adventurous attitude at mealtimes. That’s because certain foods do not generally become appetizing until your taste buds have had a chance to mature. While it is not recommended that you replace traditional sunblock with these foods, consuming them will likely offer additional protection and reduce sun damage for you and your family—all while tasting great.
But fresh tomatoes such as in homemade salsa, gazpacho, or tomato salad still offer a respectable dose of good-for-your-skin lycopene. You can also find betacarotene in non-orange foods, like mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, beets, beet greens, cabbage, kale, and spinach. In addition to vitamin C, cherries contain melatonin, which protects skin from UV radiation and repairs sunburn damage.
Mushrooms (especially cremini) contain the mineral selenium, essential for the production of glutathione peroxidase. In addition to being great sources for essential nutrients, these foods will provide a healthy dose of natural sun protection and skin regeneration. These get their added oomph by the use of a classic French mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery).
Even better: if the goal can be chunked into smaller successes, list them and then cross out as they are accomplished. A maximum of five to seven goals are ideal (psychology tells us we focus best on this number or less). Even if a list was made, but not a daily reminder, this puts us at a disadvantage for reaching our goals.
And gratitude is not only polite and appreciated, it turns out it is good for our emotional health; our very heart and soul! Even three weeks after they had stopped writing items down, the group of kids that expressed gratitude was more grateful than the control group that did not. But during the holidays, do try to spend time focusing with your child on what he or she already has to counter balance this.
If using a commercially prepared pie crust, look for a brand without trans or hydrogenated fats.
There are a few small steps that can be followed to help a parent change their child’s eating habits, but remember that it takes bit of time and a lot of patience to get a child to make the changes as you are implementing these tips for picky eaters.Show Your Child RespectOne of the best tips for picky eaters is to show your child that you respect them.
Other children seem reluctant to try anything new, and insist on eating the same foods all of the time.
Hence if you are anxious about the meal, you will pass that anxiety directly to your child. For this reason, it is prudent to supply meals and snacks at exactly the same time each day. If what you see leads you to believe your child really isn’t getting all he needs from his food, consider buying him a good multivitamin. If you want your child to have a nutritionally well-balanced diet, you will have to show him that you are open-minded about food. Onions, certain cheeses and hot spices are all foods that often taste overwhelmingly strong to a young child. Do not overcook as the meat will continue to cook in the sauce and we don’t want it to get tough. If you prefer, you can puree the sauce, but make the following changes: Cut the carrots and celery in larger pieces. And research presented at the American Psychological Association's 120th Annual Convention found that grateful teens are more likely to be happy, less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, and less likely to have behavioral problems at school, compared with less grateful teens.
Leaving your child a written note on the refrigerator is another great way to reinforce being thankful.
This allows your child to enjoy the family celebration, instead of worrying about the meal.
Because children need routine, you should avoid serving meals that are completely unfamiliar. This is also a mistake because it reinforces the child’s notion that dessert is the best part of a meal.
You can do this by being willing to try new things, and eating a healthy balance of different foods.

Limes, also high in vitamin C, can cause the skin to burn more, so be sure to limit exposure to lime juice or peels when heading out in to the sun.
You could add cayenne pepper (to taste), Tabasco sauce or up to 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar for a kick. Cook the meat first (spray with nonstick spray as there will be no oil in the pan from sautéing the veggies) then remove. Why not have your children tell you before bed something that they were grateful for that day, or some act of kindness they saw someone else do?
When you are following these tips for picky eaters, it is also important to let the child know that this is their opportunity to eat and they will probably be hungry later if they make the choice to ignore their food.Create RoutinesWhen there is an eating routine in the household, the child will understand what the expectations are and they will be more likely to follow the expectations from one day to the next. If you want your child to try something new, introduce the strange food alongside things you know he will eat.
Remember that if your child learns bad eating habits early in life, he will be more likely to develop diabetes and other obesity-related diseases later on. If you serve them more food than they can handle, they are likely to recoil at the idea of having to eat such a huge quantity. Do not allow your picky eater to carry on with his siblings at the dinner table when he should be eating.
It is also a good idea to put the new food on your child’s plate several times, regardless of whether he eats it or not.
When you are preparing meals for your child, be mindful of the fact that some flavors are simply too strong for him. It also gives your child the impression that he can have something different whenever he doesn’t particularly like what the rest of the family is eating.
It’s establishing this habit when they are young that will most likely result in an adult with an attitude of gratitude that shines.
Constantly changing expectations can confuse the child, and the lack of routine may ruin your efforts with the other tips for picky eaters.Be sure that you are serving the meals at the same time each day, and also manage snack time on a schedule. In other words, cooking separate meals may actually reinforce your child’s finicky eating habits. Avoid serving snacks within two hours before meal time, which will help your child to have a hungry stomach when they come to dinner.Be Patient and UnderstandingImplementing these tips for picky eaters means that there will be some changes occurring in your household.
If you know your child really likes chicken and mashed potatoes, you could try serving the carrots in conjunction with those two favorites. If your child gets used to seeing a certain food on his plate, he will be more likely to try it. Remove lid, bring to a moderate simmer and cook until reduced to desired thickness, another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
Puree the vegetables with an immersion blender (or in a blender, but be sure to use a kitchen towel on the lid and leave a vent for the steam to escape). Remember that children need time to adapt to change, and don’t try to force them too quickly. Forcing an issue often results in a power struggle, so it is more effective to be supportive and encouraging with the new habits that are being formed.Also, don’t be too serious about meal times, because you may unintentionally create negative feelings that are associated with eating.
Kids love to dip vegetables or finger foods in sauce, and they also enjoy other fun games such as foods that are shaped with cookie cutters.Remember that the child will need to be introduced to new foods multiple times before they will like the food. Some doctors suggest that a child needs to taste a food 10-15 times in order to determine whether or not they like it!
Continue to offer the new foods, and over time the child will most likely begin to eat the healthier options.If you want to be successful with the changes, it is important that you don’t try to implement all of these tips for picky eaters at the same time. Slowly, over time you can implement the other tips for picky eaters until the children have shifted to the new way of eating.
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