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BellaOnline's Moms Editor

Helping Picky Eaters With A Phone App

I came across this iPhone app for picky eaters while reading a Scholastic magazine. Perhaps like many moms, articles on how to get picky eaters excited about fruits and vegetables just frustrate me.

Dipping vegetables into sauces and dips never enticed my plain Jane children. They started out eating everything I put in front of them but later developed their own tastes and decisions about food. And those decisions did not involve many fruits or vegetables. Yes, I have one (of four) child whose fruits and vegetables choices involved bananas Ė thatís it. Thatís a bit hard to digest for a vegetarian, mostly vegan, whole grain if any grain kind of mama.

As they grow older, the older two are beginning to test their palates (again) with foods they thought they disliked. I am eagerly watching the turn-on to new (old) tastes and patiently waiting for the younger two to join me on the path of healthy eating.

While nutritionist tricks (or demands) work for some families, they never worked for ours. I know itís ďagainst parenting lawĒ, but I cater to the individual food preferences of my children. I had one child who was allergic to dairy. He grew out of it but still avoids dairy, for the most part Ė and Iím not forcing him to change. My husband and I have different food preferences, and I donít force mushrooms on him nor does he try to coerce me into eating green peppers.

Despite all this, I am a parent concerned with nutrition and providing a healthy diet for my children so I keep trying, and I stay persistent (and I pray a lot). If you can turn healthy eating into a game (or even a bit of sibling competition), Iím interested.

The Easy Eater iPhone app is so cute and an easy way to make healthy eating fun. After they eat, children log their consumed foods. They donít have to register quantities (or calories) Ė just that they ate it. The healthy food choices earn more points than the not as healthy food choices. Children work toward earning prizes like extended curfews, sweet treats (what?!), or a day off from doing chores. They can also spend some of their grub bucks, as they are called, to adorn their character animal with a hat.

I chose a monkey as my animal avatar in this healthy eating game. After logging my breakfast of oatmeal, bananas, and strawberries Ė I had 110 grub bucks. It takes 2000 bucks to earn a prize, so children do have to eat to earn.

The cartoon characters and colors are fun and inviting. My children are on electronics often enough that I thought a quick entry would not be a fuss. Similar to the chore chart apps, you begin with excited momentum and soon peter out. Even my healthy eating food diaries are difficult to maintain for an extended period. So, itís no wonder this was difficult to keep up with.

Nonetheless, if you are a parent with a picky eater Ė Iíd suggest checking out this free app. Itís cute. Itís fun. Itís well done and worth a try.

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