A Preteen is usually defined as being a kid that is between to 10 to 13 years old. The good news is that most kids are just lovely during these years and being naturally active they will eat anything on their plate.
However some preteens might be pickier because they have actually slowed down growing a bit. If the child eats less, it might simply biological. However if there is a lot of emotional drama going on around the food then you might have some problems.
If your child is picky about eating food realize it might be more about you than the food â€¦ego struggles are likely at this age. Patience and non-resistance is key.
Do not be surprised if your child is a binge eater or craves one particular food. As long as it is not an unhealthy food like sugar you should indulge the craving.
Train your child to eat eight servings of antioxidant laden fruit and vegetables a day by eating by color!
Do not be surprised if your preteen starts talking about becoming a vegetarian; this is a 'hot topic' around the first decade of life and should be encouraged as long as your child gets all of the vitamins they need in supplements (especially B12 which is only found in meat.)
Discourage your teen from being an emotional eater; explain how food should not be used to abate extreme feelings or avoid dealing with reality.
Be aware of the signs of anorexia and bulimia and get your pre-adolescent help quickly if you suspect self-image problems; even though these are disorders that are more associated with teenagers they can start a very young age.
Reward your child financially or otherwise somehow if they resist the temptation to eat in the school cafeteria and take a brown bag to lunch
Continue to take your child shopping and encourage him or her to read nutritional labels and try new foods
Encourage your child to cook meals for the family; in some areas of the country you can even send your ten year old to a cooking and nutrition class. Usually these types of classes advertise through a Learning Annex or extended education brochure.
Your child can read and learn from online sources at this point so be sure to take advantage of interactive tools on the internet that might encourage him or her to pay more attention to her health.
Above all be patient, understanding and talk to your kids. Understanding where they are at goes a long way towards helping them develop life-long healthy eating patterns.