Pandering to a Picky Eater? It's Time for a Truce this Fall!

Kraft Dinner Smart Survey reveals picky eating makes mealtime stressful - but families don't have to suffer for it

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TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2011 /CNW/ - For many Canadian families, there's a constant juggling act between work, school and extra-curricular activities - and in the middle of the hockey games and the homework help, families are also dealing with the battleground known as dinner.

Yes, between the cajoling and the crying, the testing and the tears, many families are feeling stressed out when it comes to creating peace with their picky eaters, but solving for it can be as easy as including foods you know they'll eat into every meal.

According to a recent survey of parents commissioned by the Kraft Dinner Smart brand, more than half of Canadian parents (56 per cent) say they have at least one child who is or who used to be a picky eater - and 85 per cent say having that picky eater makes mealtime feel more stressful.  Parents also say that having a picky eater makes mealtime a longer, more difficult process (84 per cent) and another 80 per cent say that having one picky eater affects siblings or other family members at mealtime.

"It's important for parents to remember that kids are naturally wary when it comes to trying new foods and picky eating can be a normal part of child development," says Gina Sunderland, Registered Dietitian. "But when you're in that stressful moment of trying to put dinner on the table, staying positive about what your child will or won't eat is often easier said than done.  Kids are creatures of habit and one winning solution can be to combine familiar foods kids love with new choices as part of a balanced meal."

Bring smiles - and sanity - back to family meals
It certainly doesn't help matters when parents and guardians don't agree when it comes to mealtime rules.  Clean the plate? No dessert until the vegetables are gone? Just one bite?  A quarter of survey respondents (24 per cent) said they do not agree with their partners on supper strategies.  Gina Sunderland offers parents these top five tips to make mealtime enjoyable for everyone:

Incorporate favourite foods with new ones - It's almost a guaranteed recipe for disaster if you present a kid with a plate of foods he's never had.  In fact, half of survey respondents (50 per cent) say their picky eater refuses to try any new foods or foods they dislike.   Instead, always try to have at least one food on the plate that's a guaranteed hit - like Kraft Dinner Smart High Fibre macaroni & cheese.  It tastes just as good as original Kraft Dinner macaroni & cheese but has added ingredients like oats and inulin mixed right in, plus there are no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.  By pairing Kraft Dinner Smart with milk and a serving of vegetables or fruit, it's easy to create a healthy and balanced meal for picky eaters.

Set regular meal times - and stick to them - Set a regular snack/meal schedule - and let your child know that if they choose not to eat at the designated time, they won't eat again until the next scheduled meal.  If they don't eat, that's their choice - but there will be no bribing, begging or demanding something else! The survey found that 30 per cent of respondents cook separate meals to appease kids while 18 per cent have persuaded their kids to finish meals by offering rewards - both strategies that are destined to perpetuate picky eating, according to Sunderland.

Presentation counts - Even more so for particularly picky eaters!  To score a 10 from your little judge, it's time to think outside the plate.  Try hard-boiled egg 'boats,' or string bean 'people' with noodles for hair. The possibilities, and fun, are endless.

Tune in to peer pressure - Peer pressure can be a great motivator - or de-motivator - even at a young age.  Your child may be avoiding a particular food for a specific reason: for example, he sees parents or siblings avoiding it.  Address his concerns - and be sure you're modelling positive eating habits too.  If you're always leaving your broccoli on your plate (or not taking any at all!) it's hard to expect your child to gobble it up.

Keep expectations in check - It's important to remember that kids' stomachs are only about the size of their fist.  So what may seem like a few measly bites to you may actually be all your child needs to eat to feel full.  Plus, keep in mind that we all have our "off" days.  Most survey respondents (77 per cent) acknowledged that their child's mood impacts how they eat.

"The bottom line is it can take several tries before a young child accepts a new food - in fact, research shows that it can take up to 15 tries for some foods to be accepted," says Sunderland.   "It's also important to take a look at what a child is eating over an entire week.  It can be easy to fixate on what they're not eating at a particular meal, rather than acknowledging what they actually have eaten over the course of a few days."

Kids Love Kraft Dinner Smart!
Without sacrificing taste, Kraft Dinner Smart macaroni & cheese contains no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives and each 50 g helping (¾ cup prepared) contains either a high source of fibre, a source of Omega-3 polyunsaturates, or a half serving of vegetables.   Look for Kraft Dinner Smart in the following varieties:

  • High Fibre (Oats and Inulin have been blended into the noodles providing a high source of fibre)
  • Flax Omega-3 (Flax seed has been blended into the noodles, providing a source of Omega-3 polyunsaturates)
  • Vegetables Original and Three Cheese Varieties (Cauliflower has been blended into the noodles)

Kraft Dinner Smart remains just as simple to prepare and serve as original Kraft Dinner and tastes just as great too.  Available at major grocery retailers across Canada.  For more information, visit

Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE: KFT) is a global snacks powerhouse with an unrivaled portfolio of brands people love.  Proudly marketing delicious biscuits, confectionery, beverages, cheese, grocery products and convenient meals in approximately 170 countries, Kraft Foods had 2010 revenue of $49.2 billion.  Twelve of the company's iconic brands - Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Tang and Trident - generate revenue of more than $1 billion annually.  On Aug. 4, 2011, Kraft Foods announced plans to divide and create two independent public companies:  a high-growth global snacks business and a high-margin North American grocery business.  The transaction will take at least 12 months to complete, during which time plans regarding the structure, management, governance and other matters will be announced.  A leader in innovation, marketing, health & wellness and sustainability, Kraft Foods is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor's 500, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index.  Visit and

About the Survey
From August 23 to August 26, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,008 Canadian parents of children aged 12 and under who have at least one "picky eater" kid at home, and who are Angus Reid Forum panel members.  The Angus Reid Forum is owned and operated by Vision Critical.  The margin of error on the full base - which measures sampling variability - is +/-3.01 per cent.  Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

SOURCE Kraft Foods

For further information:

Melissa Legaspi

Stephanie Cass
Kraft Foods

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