Jan 152015

6 Tips For the Picky Eater in Your Family

Does your child have a hard time eating the food items you’re making for them? My boys sometimes struggle with what I put in front of them, so I decided to try several different things.

#1. Patience is Key

I know that you want to move onto the next activity instead of watching your child slowly eat their peas, but you need to be patient. A child isn’t going to eat the food in front of them faster, just because you want them to. Try to be as patient as possible to make things easier for your child.

#2. Introduce New Foods

You may try 101 foods before you find a food your child will like, and that’s okay. I sometimes feel guilty for “wasting” food. Instead of feeling bad, I just make smaller portions now. If they love the food, I can always make more, instead of throwing tons of it out.

#3. Fresh is Best

It can be so tempting to give our children chicken, pizza, fries and lots of other processed foods. One of the best things you can do for your child is to offer them fresh foods. It’s healthier for them and you’ll love it if they grow up enjoying these types of foods.

Picky Eater

#4. Add Choices

Let your child have several things to choose from when it comes to eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can even have your child help you choose different foods while you’re at the grocery store. Kids love to be a part of the decision making process, especially when it comes to the foods their mouths will encounter.

#5. Mom Should Make Good Choices

I know that my food choices aren’t always the best, but I try. I know that my boys do better with eating, when I am eating well. I try to encourage them to try new things, by trying new foods myself. I need to keep in mind that when I eat healthy foods, my kids see this, and they will be more motivated to eat these foods as well.

#6. NO Distractions

I know some parents will let their kids do things like watch TV while their child eats, but I’m pretty strict about no distractions during eating. Keeping my kids away from the TV and their toys, while they eat, helps them focus on the task at hand. Trust me, this is no easy task, which is why I am motivated to stay on top of it.

Here are some of my top tips for helping my picky eaters. What are your tips to add?

  123 Responses to “6 Tips For the Picky Eater in Your Family”

  1. As you know Lily is my picky eater, so I can’t thank you enough for these tips 😉

  2. I had a picky eater as well and she didn’t start to eat “normally” until she was a teenager. I think with her, just letting her have some space until she realized what she was missing out on was what ultimately led to her trying new things.

  3. My tip is to give it time. Hunter has been eating more and different foods and trying them out on his own when he’s ready! He will now eat a hamburger! The world is now opened to him haha. Landon on the other hand I’ll bribe sometimes… but he’s now trying things on his own and finding out he likes it.

    Like on Yo Gabba Gabba…. try it, you may like it!

  4. My kids are very picky but I think it;s important to just keep trying new things. I’m amazed at some of the things they end up liking.

  5. Here is the truth from a picky eater. Never try to convince a kid to eat something because it’s good for them. If it was good for us, it would taste better. You have many good suggestions in your article and comments about how to make meals and mealtime a good experience.

    • These days their are so many recipes on how to put things in more well known, better tasting dishes. For example, black bean brownies are actually pretty amazing!

  6. I’m so grateful that my boys aren’t picky eaters. I’ve heard some serious horror stories about picky eaters.

  7. These are all great tips. My son was picky when he was little. We had a deal that he had to at least taste anything new. If he really didn’t like it we wouldn’t make him eat it.

  8. It’s hard for parents of kids that are picky eaters, I know my son went through a short phase when he was a toddler and all he wanted was bananas and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’m so glad that didn’t last long!

  9. As a picky eater myself, I can say these are all great tips. My doctor and I actually discussed the introducing new foods into my diet last week. I think that’s the best idea, we (all picky eaters) won’t know if we like something until we try it.

  10. Distractions are the toughest for us! With 2 littles, I’m always battling between the two to get them to eat

  11. I find my kids are more willing to try new things when they have a hand in helping to prepare the dish. They don’t always like it, but they will try it!

  12. We try to cut out distractions, too. My son only likes fresh vegetables, so I make sure to have them on hand. (They’re better than no vegetables!)

    • Kiddo love fresh vegetables. So, my husband and I keep carrots, celery, radish and other items like green peppers and cucumbers when they are in season stocked, cut and ready to pull right out of the fridge. We all snack on them.

  13. Great tips. My picky eater hates sauce of any kind.

  14. Isaak’s the pickiest eater in our house, but he’s not too picky. I think my boys eat pretty well actually.

  15. I’ve tried letting the little one help, he’s my picky eater. To no avail. He likes to create, but not eat what he’s created. 😉 I love the no distractions rule you have, I have that one for the kids too. Now if dad would just do the same… 🙂

  16. I had the world’s pickiest girl eater and my husband and I decided to put our foot down. With some tips and tricks and determination .. she is now eating corn, celery, meat and so so much more!

  17. My 5 year old is so picky! I find finger foods are much more doable with her verses full plated meals.

  18. It is so true, never give up or you will have a picky tween… it all starts when they are little.

  19. Yes, patience IS key. I have learned that the hard way! I have two picky eaters in my family. Thanks for the tips!

  20. Awesome tips! We have a rule that you have to try it before you say you won’t eat it – most of the time my youngest learns he loves something after declaring it disgusting!

  21. My family is super lucky. We do not have any picky eaters. We basically will try almost everything.

  22. Spoken like the mom of thriving picky eaters! Grat list here. No distractions very true

  23. I wonder if some of these tips will work on the other half – he is still such a picky eater.

  24. Great tips! Out of 6 kids I have been lucky and only got 1 picky eater. I’m super picky myself, and he generally is about the same as me but I’m going to try this stuff with him see if any of it will help!

  25. I have been lucky. My kids and grandkids have not been picky. These are great tips.

  26. I know my daughter is a picky eater. We make her try things even if she does not want to. Now she eats green bean and potatoes among other veggies,.

  27. I always thought distractions were good for picky eaters My 3 little ones drive me nuts – they are super picky!

  28. Have a lot of determination and don’t give up! Lil Pumpkin was such a picky eater too but luckily now she ain’t too bad.. just still kinda slow. Will have to work on that much more this year before she goes to Primary school next year.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  29. Great tips! I have a really picky 3 year old and slowly getting him to eat a new food here and there. It is a struggle.

  30. My daughter was my first child. She got her way on food, and it’s coming back to bite me now. My son will eat just about anything! One thing we do is grow a garden in the summer. They’ll try just about anything that we grow!

  31. Great tips! I’ve got 4 picky eaters in our family, and believe me, dinner time can be a pain! I love what you said about serving smaller portions – that way it’s not so stressful if it doesn’t all get eaten.

  32. Those are pretty good tips especially the one about patience! I wonder when it became the norm to do something while you ate–I agree with you–eat then play or whatever–not both together!

  33. Awesoem tips! My daughter is SUCH a picky eater!

  34. Dealing with picky eaters can be difficult. I’m happy my daughter isn’t TOO picky!

  35. My son will try anything once. He is an adventurous soul.

  36. Introducing new foods is always a good way to help picky eaters! When my kids were young I told them they had to at least TRY one new food a week.

  37. My son is 13 and has autism, so he has a lot of issues with food. We finally accepted he will only eat a certain list of foods and we are ok with that.

  38. I remember myself being a picky eater for many years, including up into my twenties too. I’m kinda glad my taste buds changed though, I’m enjoying so much more yummy food now lol.

  39. Loving these tips! I have a very picky 2-year old and I struggle with tip #1 alllllll the time. I get so frustrated. Learning how to stay calm and work with her, though. It’s getting easier. Maybe. At least this week….

  40. I’ve been very lucky with all three of my kids. I wouldn’t say they’re adventurous eaters, but they at least eat what I give them.

  41. I have two picky eaters at my house…my son and my husband!

  42. I always tell my kids they have to at least try it, I will not take no for an answer and quite a bit of the time they wind up liking it!

  43. These tips are completely true for the pickiest eaters. My son does not like anything at all.

  44. Great tips. My kids were always picky eaters so it’s shocking to me to see how adventurous they are foodwise now that they’re grown!

  45. Patience really is key! I keep serving the foods till they give i

  46. Out of three kids, I only had one picky eater…wasn’t any of them- it is my husband LOL! Great tips- I wonder if they will work on him….

  47. Choices are always a good thing to keep around. I make sure to make plenty of sides when making dinner so that even the pickiest of eaters can find something to like!

  48. My daughter may be the pickiest eater on the planet. Thanks for the great tips!

  49. Fresh makes such a difference sometimes! I hated watching TV while eating as a kid, haha.

  50. I am all about leading by example and if my kids see me eating something and enjoying it, they usually want to try it as well. Making food look appealing makes a huge difference as well.

  51. My youngest son was an extremely picky eater when he was young. And for many years. He did grow out of it and now he eats a wide variety of foods. BUT these tips will come in hand for my husband.

  52. We never had to deal with picky eaters here, thankfully and my mom told me I wasn’t picky before too lol!

  53. These are great tips. I can’t imagine my kids ever being pick eaters. Then again, they all have four legs… =D

  54. My son gets his picky eating gene from me, although I think he took it to new levels. These are great tips for BOTH of us! My son is also more likely to try something new at a friend’s house, when he sees his friend eating it.

  55. I think a good tip is to let them try things on their own. I used to be- and still am- a picky eater, so when I want to try new things I hate when people call attention to it.

  56. My daughter is super picky. It is a battle to get her to eat. These are great tips. Your #1 is key. You definitely need patience.

  57. I find that repeated exposure often does the trick. I’m also not one to force them to try anything or clean their plate, but I also don’t make special meals.

  58. Those are some great tips. To get my picky eater to eat I use cookie cutters to cut her sandwiches into fun shapes.

  59. These are great tips! It is a frightening feeling when your child refuses to eat and you are out of control of their nutrition!! My little sister went through phases of eating only one food for days at a time….once when she was 2 or 3 years old she ate only steamed, plain broccoli for about 3 weeks. This is where your tip #3 comes in. . . she was only given healthy choices all along so when she was picky, at least it was with good foods!

  60. Thank God the days of picky eating are far behind me. It was a rough time. =(

  61. These are great tips for the picky eaters in the family. I never had a problem with my boys eating anything. They ate every veggie, fruit , and just anything put in front of them so I lucked out. My sisters both had problems with their kids. Thanks for sharing.

  62. Davey is the picky eater in our family. Great tips – we always ask Davey to at least take one bite. Often he finds out the one bite is tasty!

  63. I’m pretty strict about dinner at our house when kiddo is around. We always sit at the table as a family without distractions. I am pretty thankful that kiddo will try anything once and she pretty much likes all fruits and vegetables. I’ve never really had to fight with her about eating good.

  64. I had one child that was so picky, I did result to bribes. I know it’s not the best method but in the end he eats a wider variety of foods. He is still pickier than most out there but at least he can attend parties and family events now.

  65. I totally agree with the NO distractions rule. It’s so easy to just let them plop down in front of the TV with their favorite snacks. But for me, I know all too well how many calories I can put down during a “Friends” rerun. Not a good habit to start with the kiddos!

  66. I think a parent’s lifestyle definitely affects a child’s picky choices. I have no picky eaters, but at the same time my kids grew up eating everything and we never made a big deal out of it.

  67. My son is 18 months old and he’s such a picky eater. Its funny cuz some days he will eat a ton and other days not at much! Great tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  68. Great tips Robin. My boys started eating salads every night. They are picky eaters, so I am happy that they are getting those veggies in!

  69. I definitely believe that children are watching us closely including what we eat. I try to make healthy choices because of that too!

  70. Patience is key. One of my twins was a very picky eater as a child. Now she eats everything … well almost. Ha!

  71. We’re always “reintroducing” foods my daughter doesnt like to her. If she tries them enough times she will like it.

  72. I have actually always been a pretty picky eater myself. Trying to get my boys to try new things has led to me doing the same.

  73. My son has autism, so he is super picky about what he eats. We have a short list of foods he will eat and there is no budging him.

  74. These are great tips. It’s so important for parents to model good eating habits. I always offered my kids choices for dinner – take it or leave it 🙂

  75. My daughter will be 15 next month and she is even more pickier than she was before. I don’t understand it. But it is hard to find things she likes. I keep trying though 🙂

    Thanks for the tips

  76. these are great tips! we don’t have kids, but i was a really picky eater growing up. i think partly i felt there were a lack of choices growing up, but i’m finding even now i can be pretty picky too even though the choices are endless. 😛

  77. I was (still kind of am) the picky eater in my food. It’s funny because my mom and sister are complete opposites, they’ll eat anything! These are great tips! Patience is key with us picky eaters <3

  78. Great list, I like number 3… We eat so many processed foods, that when you eat something fresh it really feels like a relief!

  79. I feel like all three of my kids are picky, which is crazy since my husband and I are NOT picky at all. So frustrating sometimes. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  80. These are great tips for picky eaters!!! I think giving the kids fresh food vs processed is a great way to expand their palette well into adult hood.

  81. LOVE your picky eater tips! I so do believe that fresh is better, too! Thanks for pointing that out. Be patient and keep trying and don’t make a big deal out of food.

  82. Great tips!! I certainly have a picky guy in my family, too!

  83. These are great tips. My daughter is a picky eater and one thing that helped was having her help with the meal (even if it’s just picking out the recipe!) and she would be so excited to try it!

  84. I try to practice by example… and sneak while napping 🙂

  85. My niece is very picky when it comes to food. Sometimes it’s already a pain. Thanks for the tips! I learned a lot.

  86. These are all great tips, I have picky eaters but, manage to get them to eat healthy by using most of these! Thanks for the new pointers!

  87. All my three children are picky eaters. Thank you so much for sharing these tips!!

  88. Good idea about letting kids have a few choices to go along with what is already being made. Like if one child doesn’t like a side you are making I can see offering one other side choice.

  89. Great tips! My girls are ok and I still have to have several options especially for dinner.

  90. My toddler is super picky. Thank god for yogurt or I think he’d starve somedays. I do introduce new foods most of which my two year old dramatically spits out into the trash. I’m hoping it’s just the age.

  91. When my children were little they didn’t have a choice. They sat there until there plate was clean. The only thing is I had a stubborn one with particular foods so as long as my children tried it they could leave the table, but if they didn’t try it they sat. They eventually tried it and I would ask them do you like it or no? Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t, but all in all it’s really a good dose of tough love for the parents.

  92. I’m the picky eater in the family. I need to show this to my husband

  93. A lot of great tips. I have picky eaters. I have let them watch tv while eating. I will try to stop that. I am still working on getting them to eat fresh foods. My oldest will eat carrots and broccoli with ranch now but my youngest she is trying to boycott vegetables. 🙂

  94. These are some good tips. In my family it is my husband who is the picky eater. Maybe these tips would work for him too!

  95. I am big on the “rainbow” principle. for some reason, colourful foods just seem to appeal to them. But I don’t food dye: things like sweet peppers and tri coloured pasta. that kind of thing. Then every Friday is movie/pizza night — that is there one break from sitting politely at the table and they can have a pop too. I find having that one treat night helps keep every other night in balance. Bad behaviour or picky eating during the week? Guess who’s NOT getting pizza Friday?
    Taco Tuesday also become a “thing” thanks to The Lego Movie. but not every Tuesday.

  96. I wish I could figure out ways to get my son who has issues with textures and such to eat a larger variety of foods. Great tips though.

  97. My son is one of the pickiest eaters and it so frustrating at times, especially since he refuses to eat anything that is healthy! These are wonderful tips, though.

  98. You are nicer than me 🙂 My kids eat whatever is on my menu plan, I don’t really offer them a lot of choices. I have to though since my oldest has ADHD and doesn’t do well with decision making. Great list, it can be hard to find things for kids to eat, especially if they are picky!

  99. These are great tips! I haven’t hit that stage yet, but when I do I am going to use these! Thanks!

  100. I love your list. Great advice for what will come for me in the future!

  101. I love your tips and advices for picky eaters – this would prove to be helpful most especially once I have a child of my own hehehe.

  102. I’m a fairly picky eater and it’s nice that I can eat what I want now that I’m all grown up 🙂

  103. Could not agree more with your tip of making good choices so your kids make good choices. Parenting has a lot to do with leading by example. If one parent makes a huge fuss about not liking something, not trying something, etc. your child is totally going to follow suit!

  104. Such perfect timing, my toddler has all of a sudden gotten SUPER picky! I’m trying to be as patient as possible!

  105. K my middle son is the pickiest eater! Thank you so much for the tips!

  106. My oldest is a massively picky eater. She won’t eat meat of any kind, so frustrating. The hardest thing in out battle against picky eating is that my daughter can throw up on demand.

  107. I’m so grateful my kids will eat anything. I’ve been making them eat all types of things since birth. But we have seen it with friends kids that come over and sit there and pout at what I make.

  108. fresh is always best – whether the picky eater’s a child – or a grownup 😀

  109. I agree, fresh is always best. I try to serve foods both sophisticated and basic/unaltered so that my daughter gets a taste for everything.

  110. These are all great tips. But to tell you the truth, I don’t understand the whole “picky eater” thing. When my daughters were eating baby food, there were some foods they didn’t like, and I obliged them. But once they were eating table food, I didn’t allow them to be picky eaters. They had to eat what I made for dinner … period. I remember my younger daughter sitting at the table for hours one night because she didn’t want to eat her ham! To this day she still hates ham!! LOL

  111. These are really great tips! I have little cousins that are very picky eaters. I will pass this post along to their mom!

  112. I love all these tips! I am not a mom but I grew up with my mother doing home daycare and definitely give them options and introducing them to new foods are helpful!

  113. I have to pickiest eater. He will not eat anything that isn’t frozen, take out or processed.

  114. These are some great tips. Thank you so much for the post

  115. No distractions is an especially good one – one we had to learn with our 3 year old! It would take her almost an hour to eat like 3 bites until we started having her sit still and focus on eating only.

  116. Those are some great ideas. It can be frustrating trying to win the battle. I feel like I’m making progress with my picky eater, but a lot of that is age.