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Being both pediatricians and mothers, Drs. Laura Jana and Jennifer Shu entered into penning their book on picky eaters with some hard-won insights.

“We’re very much parenting realists,” Dr. Jana tells PEOPLE. “How do you make [eating healthy] work when you’ve got a kid throwing a fit in the grocery store or whining over food? We thought we could make a big impact on the problem by giving concrete and tactical information about raising kids healthier.”

In their guide, Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup, the duo draws from their medical backgrounds and real-life experiences to help counsel parents through common picky eating challenges.

“Parents can get frustrated easily and start getting into bad habits, like cooking kids special meals or insisting that they clean their plates. Things like that are actually backfiring,” says Dr. Shu.

Instead, parents should aim to make small changes over time to their children’s diets, which will prove more effective in the long-run than an enormous overhaul.

“A healthy diet doesn’t happen overnight,” says Dr. Shu. “Don’t put pressure on yourself to get every single meal perfect every day of the week. Be patient; it is going to take time.”

Noting that “there are simple one-step things that people can do that will really make a big difference,” Dr. Jana suggests removing the unhealthy treats from one’s home.

Ultimately, “it’s a parent’s job to put good food in front of the child, and it’s a child’s job to decide how much to eat,” says Dr. Shu. “Keep it simple like that, where the parent really is in charge.”

– Kiran Hefa