7 Tips for Picky Eaters to Guide Parents Through Mealtime

Every week, we hear from moms who are struggling with the issue of picky eating. Picky eating is normal and most kids eventually outgrow it, but when you’re in the thick of an all-white food jag or if a green vegetable hasn’t passed your child’s lips ever, finicky eating can be tough for any parent to swallow. We have created many resources to guide parents and kids through this challenging eating phase including a Picky Eater Makeover page on our site, two Cooking with the Moms radio podcast episodes devoted to the subject (show #133 and show #218), and our latest cookbook, No Whine with Dinner, which features 50 Tips from Moms for Getting Picky Eaters to Try New Foods. And now, to help even more, we compiled 7 creative picky eater tips from fellow moms to get you thinking out of the box.

Picky Eater Tips

1. Open a Restaurant, contributed by Susan
“My daughters, Jessi and Alissa, used to play cafe. We would make an assortment of items — fruits veggies, cheeses, dips, crackers — and make a menu. They would take turns being the waitress or the customer. As they got older, they played completely on their own, making up their own recipes even!”

2. Kid-Created Recipe Cards, contributed by Sandy

“Have your children cook and create with you in the kitchen … even to the point of making recipe cards by themselves on how they did it. Then have them serve and try the food. It’s the pride that will get even a 5-year old to say, ‘I helped,’ and then try it.”

3. Silly Culinary Adjectives, contributed by Carrie
“I ask my daughter to try everything on her plate. We talk about how each dish tastes and what she likes or dislikes about it. I think she enjoys trying to come up with silly things to say about what she is eating.”

4. Give them the Tools to Help, contributed by Valerie
“We gave our son his own apron, chef’s hat and bought some age-appropriate kitchen tools. Having him help in the kitchen gets him excited to try his own creations!”

5. Plant a Vegetable Garden, contributed by Leah
“Having a garden is a great way that I get my kids to eat their veggies. Even at their young ages of 5, 3, and 1 they love picking right from the garden and eating the vegetables. The older two love it because they have helped in planting the garden. Even during the winter when we eat something canned it is fun to get to say, ‘oh I think this is the bean you picked from the garden.’ They marvel at the fact that they can grow something and eat it.”

6. Pint-Size Bites, contributed by Elizabeth
”My best tip for getting my toddler to eat is to not give her too much food. Make the plate manageable and keep the bites small.”

7. Choose a “Try It” Food Every Time You Shop, contributed by Kim

“We always pick out a ‘try it’ item when we go to the grocery store. One rule: NO junk food! We have tried star fruit, kefir, and plantains. Each week we pick one new thing and look up what to do with it. My kids are always excited to try it, and as a result, we have added quite a few new foods to our diet.”

If you have a creative picky eater tip that’s worked for your family, feel free to share it here!

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