How to Encourage a Picky Eater
By Sara Butler
Kids are known for their picky palates but getting your kids to try new things at the dinner table doesn’t have to be the battle of the century. Most kids go through phases where they’re not inclined to try new things, especially when they’re young. But that doesn’t mean you should give up hope! Here are some ways you can encourage your picky eater without starting an epic clash.
Why Kids are Picky
Being a picky eater is a pretty normal thing. Think about it: When babies are born they only drink milk, which is sweet. Then, as they grow and new foods are introduced, their tastes begin to change. Over time, people constantly develop new preferences and tastes, but just because your child doesn’t like something when they’re three doesn’t mean they won’t like it when you’re 5. You just have to keep trying. Combine that with the fact that being fussy at the dinner table is how some children learn to express their independence and you have a recipe for a child who is less than thrilled with dinnertime choices.
What You Can Do
There are a few strategies you can try to get your child to try new things. These strategies are good for you child and for your family as a whole, so give them a whirl. You can:
- Eat vegetables as a family – Kids are more likely to eat healthy if it’s a behavior their parents and siblings are displaying for them. Plus, gathering around the table to eat together make the food on your dinner table the highlight of the experience.
- Be positive – When offering up a new food to your child, you must go for the hard sell. Talk up how good it is and how delicious it tastes because your child is listening!
- Get creative – If there’s a food your child will eat, then try to combine new foods with it. If your kids love pasta, then add in some peas or some other fresh vegetable.
- Bring them in – Invite the picky eater in your family into the kitchen and let them be a part of the process. Have them wash vegetables or fruit and make them feel like a part of it.
- Curb snacking – Children need snacks, but if they’re coming to the table full, then that may be part of the problem.
There is hope for you picky eater, so don't give up until you find a way to reel them in!