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A Guaranteed Two-Step Approach to Raising a Good Eater

Photograph by Twenty20

Whenever another parent complains about his or her child being a picky eater, I sympathize, but keep my mouth shut. Why? Because my kids are good eaters thanks to the patented two-step system I have devised below. Follow the rules exactly and you, too, can enjoy raising a good eater.

1. Lower your expectations and/or change the definition of “good eater.”

This is huge. But trust me, it works. Here are some ways you can achieve this major step:

Understand children’s menus exist because most kids have kid palates which means that they don't want to eat what you eat (and do not bother trying to figure out why.)

Accept that kids will never appreciate all the work you put into making sure they eat right and factor this into how much work you choose to put into their food.

RELATED: The Picky Eater Problem is Harder to Crack Than You Think

Adopt a “something is better than nothing” attitude and glean three days’ worth of satisfaction from each time your child eats a piece of produce more-or-less unbidden.

Realize that if he or she chooses not to eat dinner one night, your child will not die or even pass out.

Accept that some days kids eat or drink junk and it won’t ruin them or their habits for life.

Don’t focus on the fact that your child ate peanut butter and jelly for dinner six days this week, focus on the one day that he didn’t.

Be fine with sometimes just giving in and letting your kid watch a cartoon or play an arcade game at a restaurant because we’re just all trying to get through the day and tomorrow is another chance to try raising a well-behaved, engaged little citizen of the world.

Make the day happen so that you're feeling patient, creative and supportive and your kid is well-rested, healthy and happy enough to be agreeable to your options.

2. Be lucky.

This is just as, if not more, important than lowering your expectations.

Be able to afford a variety of food that you can feed your child and have enough free time to shop for said food.

Have a child free from inconvenient or deadly allergies, disorders or physical issues that may restrict his or her eating.

Combine your genes in such a way (or count on somebody else to do this for you) so as to produce a child that is fairly-to-very good about eating what you give him.

Make the day happen so that you're feeling patient, creative and supportive and your kid is well-rested, healthy and happy enough to be agreeable to your options.

RELATED: 10 Recipes That Will Help Your Child Fall in Love With Veggies

Realize that your kid being a good eater is largely due to circumstance and not because you are more loving or educated or that your kid is more cultured and engaged. Understand that with having a kid that is a good eater, you are probably destined to encounter some other fresh hell in regards to your kid’s habits, so don’t get too cocky and start bragging about how you have one of those babies that loves kale.

And that’s it! By following these two simple rules to the letter, you are guaranteed a child whose eating will never stress you out and who will, like most children, thank you for your gentle guidance and support.

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