Tips for Parents with Picky Eaters

A girl scared of a broccoli monster Illustrated by Regina Humphrey / IG: regina_humphrey

Not every child eats the same. No matter the household, children will always have different food preferences. Vegetables like broccoli and spinach can make children frown at the taste. Most children indulge in sugary treats because it rewards the pleasure center in the brain. But there are ways to change the way children eat with consistent practice. It’s never too late to teach your kid new food. Here are tips for parents with picky eaters.

Share a meal together

A buffet of food on a table

One of the first ways to help with picky eating is getting your child to eat with the family. Introduce your child to new foods with everyone at the table. You are helping your child get used to seeing everyone eat the same meal. Continue to provide a balanced meal. Overtime time your child may want to try unusual foods.

Avoid fussing over a meal

Red M&M talking to Yellow M&M

If your toddler or child refuses a meal, avoid fussing over it. This method refers to positive punishment, a psychological term that means the natural consequence of the action. By scolding your child, you make them not want to eat the meal anymore.Therefore, making them rebel and not try to learn new foods. By not arguing about food, you are building your child’s patience. They may think about the benefits of that food and take slow bites.

Make Food Fun

Creative Peanut Butter & Jelly

Children love to have a good time playing, so why not let them create things with their foods. Some parents may say this isn’t the best strategy, but you can use this as a temporary method. If you have a toddler, you can help them make fun food designs. Let them add some creativity by letting them organize their food by color. Have other siblings help decorate their foods. 

Let your child pick their favorite fruits and veggies

People picking out fruit

Ask your child which fruits and veggies they like even if they haven’t tried it. This technique is an easy way to get your children interested in healthy eating. Go to a grocery store with your kid and have them pick up their favorite fruit and vegetable. By talking to your kid about food, you teach them to count and memorize their colors. Then when you get home, have them eat it as a snack. Gradually your kid will enjoy eating fruits and vegetables. You can also try this technique with other types of food your kid may not like. 

Try Mixing the New Food With A Food Your Child Will Like

A smoothie being made in a blender

Practice mixing the new food with other foods your child likes. This strategy allows your child to slowly get used to new foods. Whatever they enjoy eating, trick them into eating the new foods by chopping them in. This technique should be used if your child is a really bad picky eater. Don’t try this technique if your child has just started being selective with foods. You can confuse them by disguising the new food with their original meal. For example, if they dislike spinach but love broccoli. Mix the spinach with the broccoli. 

Wait a couple of days

An interactive calendar

Practice mixing the new food with regular foods your child likes. This strategy allows your child to slowly get used to new foods. Whatever they enjoy or don’t enjoy eating, trick them into eating the new foods by chopping them in. Use this technique if your child is brand new to the food. You can even try waiting a whole month depending on your child’s improvement. 

Final Thoughts

Every child is different when it comes to eating. Try a variety of techniques for your picky eater. Remember to stay patient when introducing them to fruits and vegetables. If your child isn’t improving their diet, consult a pediatrician for help. Make eating fun for your child even if they don’t enjoy eating. Research healthy foods for them to try and ask other parents for advice if you have to. There are hundreds of children that suffer from malnutrition and picky eating because you’re not alone. 

Do you have a child that’s a picky eater? Please, like, share and comment below.


Picky Eaters and What to Do | Nutrition | CDC