6 tips for dealing with picky eaters

Posted by Anne Harguth, R.D.N.
March 11, 2015

Anne Harguth

Do you ever find yourself making two different meals at supper? I do. More often than not, I’ll prepare a salad piled high with meat and veggies for me and something else — slightly unhealthy — for my kids, just hoping they’ll eat it. And by the time I’m done preparing my plate, the children are finished eating and ready to move on to the next thing. Every once in a while, I think to myself, "You should try harder to get them to eat new things. This is silly.”

Enough is enough! Here are some tips to get your kids to eat new, healthier and possibly strange-looking foods:

1. Understand that new foods take time. Kids don't always take to new foods right off the bat. Continue to offer the new food. It may take many tries for a child to enjoy a new food — don't give up.

2. Remember that small amounts offer big benefits. Offer your child a small portion of the healthy foods you enjoy. The more diverse their diet becomes, the easier meal planning becomes.

3. Serve as a role model. Try new foods often and then describe tastes and textures to your picky eater. They may see you enjoying new cuisine and decide it's safe.

4. Try one new food at a time. Serving new foods with foods that are well-liked at your house may be helpful. Offering too many new foods at one time can be scary. 

5. Choose the right timing. It’s always helpful to offer new foods at the beginning of the meal, when everyone is most hungry. 

6. Combine foods if necessary. Some kids may like new foods mixed in with other foods. For example, hot dish. Other kids may like new foods separate, and therefore, a sectioned plate works best.

Dealing with picky eaters may seem like a never-ending, uphill battle, but it will get easier. Keep in mind that you’re not alone. Nearly all parents struggle with picky eaters. The key is to keep going and continue offering new foods.

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