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      Feeding a picky eater

      Itâ??s not too difficult to figure out what foods kids like the most.

      â??Ice cream, brownies, cookies,â?? listed South Range Elementary third grader, Madisyn Stevens.

      â??I like carrots, strawberries, watermelon,â?? added third grader, Ralyn Mattila.

      Theyâ??re usually pretty vocal about the foods they donâ??t like to eat as well.

      â??Carrots, onions, vegetables,â?? said third grader, Simon Rajala.

      For parents with a picky eater on their hands, it can be difficult to ensure your child is getting the proper nutrition.

      Thatâ??s why pediatricians from Portage Health are holding a free seminar to help parents introduce new foods in their homes without an uproar from the kids.

      â??Eating is not instinctive. It is for the first few months of life, but after that, itâ??s a learned behavior,â?? said pediatric physical therapist, Monica Aho. â??Itâ??s one of the most complicated experiences that a child has to do as far as sensory-wise.â??

      Aho said one of the biggest tools she finds most helpful to parents is social modeling and getting the whole family involved in trying new things.

      â??You take a little bit, you put it on your plate, and pass it to the next person and social model how to eat something new, and allowing the kid that itâ??s ok to interact with your food and play with your food, even if you donâ??t consume your food,â?? she said.

      Presentation is also a key element. South Range Elementary cafeteria supervisors said their students have been grabbing more fruit and veggie cups than ever before after they started presenting them in individual cups.

      Some students even said theyâ??ll eat some vegetables if they donâ??t know its in their meal.

      â??Onions; I like them, but I donâ??t really eat them, only if I canâ??t taste them,â?? said Mattila.

      Aho said the greatest piece of advice she gives parents is to make eating fun.

      â??It doesnâ??t need to be a power struggle,â?? said Aho. â??If you understand why a child may not be eating, then we can keep eating positive and fun, and suddenly we lose the power struggle.â??

      Portage Healthâ??s â??How To Feed a Picky Eaterâ?? seminar will be Thursday, March 27 at the Portage Health Rehab Center on Michigan Technological Universityâ??s campus at 6:30.

      For more information, visit the hospitalâ??s website here .