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How to Fuel a Picky Eater

By TrueSport, 03/24/20, 8:00AM CDT


It can be a frustrating to have a picky eater at home, but even more problematic is the fact that a young athlete’s desire to only eat French fries and mac and cheese might mean they are missing out on key macro and micro-nutrients.

Data suggests that being a picky eater is partly rooted in genetics, but you also have the ability to shape your child’s eating habits for the better. With a few small tweaks and a lot of patience, you can ensure that your athlete is getting healthy options that appropriately fuel them for activity.


Make a list of ‘acceptable’ options

Most picky eaters have certain diet staples, like chicken nuggets or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and are at risk of having diets with unhealthy amounts of sugars. Because of this limited, ultra-processed menu, picky eaters can potentially end up missing out on key macro and micro-nutrients like protein and fiber, as well as an array of vitamins and minerals.

The key is to find a few options that resemble your child’s go-to foods while still providing the nutrients that they need. For example, instead of tortilla chips after a game, bring kale chips or another vegetable chip that is still salty, while also providing some nutrients. You can find more suggestions to healthy alternatives in the table below.


Instead of … Try …
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TrueSport® is a grassroots movement born and powered by the experience and values of USADA–the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The TrueSport® mission is simple and bold: to change the culture of youth sport by providing powerful educational tools to equip young athletes with the resources to build the life skills and core values for lasting success on and off the field.

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