6 Ideas for Helping Picky Eaters

6 Ideas for Helping Picky Eaters

It can be hard to deal with picky eaters. I’ve asked a few moms for ideas on what you can do to try to help your picky eater try new foods.

Picky eaters can be difficult to deal with so I asked my momma friends for some ideas on how they work with their children. These are some great tips and some of them have worked for my children as well.

Tyler has always been more of a picky eater than Ryan. But there have been times that we have had trouble getting both of them to eat. And they both need different incentives to get them to eat. Tyler likes to know what he is going to get as a treat after his meals (such as some applesauce, yogurt, etc.). Ryan just doesn’t want to eat sometimes because he wants to play so we tell him he doesn’t get his kindle unless he at least tries the new foods.

Originally Published On: June 7, 2018

Last Updated On: April 7, 2020

Our House Rule

Our house rule is that the boys have to try what I cook for dinner.

They have to try one bite of the meal that Justin and I are eating. Just one bite. That’s all. If they like it then they can have more. If they don’t like it then that’s ok and we will get something else for them. This has been working pretty well for us.

Most of the time Tyler doesn’t like what I make, but he does try it. Ryan eats almost anything, and really enjoys chicken, so he will eat almost any chicken meal.

We have a thumb system. Thumbs up means they like it while thumbs down means they don’t. A Thumbs sideways means it’s ok.

6 Tips from Other Moms of Picky Eaters

This works for us, but may not be the best for other children and other families. That’s why I reached out to some other moms to find out what works for their children. These are real moms in real situations, moms with an only child, with multiple, with children with special needs.

  1. Helping in the kitchen and limiting snacks throughout the day. If [my child] snacks, mealtime becomes chaotic, she doesn’t eat and then she’s hungry at 9-10 pm.
  2. Dips! I use dips.. kids love to dip. When my kids don’t want to eat fruit I give then a little squirt of whipped cream, peanut butter for apples, hummus for veggies, etc.. ranch, bbq, ketchup… dip all the foods!
  3. Try making food small. When our kids were little, they didn’t like tacos until we bought the mini shells! The same thing happened with fresh string beans. Cooked whole, they didn’t like them. Cut into small pieces, suddenly no problem.
  4. [My child] won’t eat food that looks burned aka a hot dog on the grill. So, I tell him to close his eyes and I feed it to him.
  5. Convince them to try at least one bite, if they don’t like it they don’t have to eat it. Or have them try something three times (different meal times) to give it a shot before deciding they don’t like it.
  6. Keep them surrounded by foods and make food fun. Have a platter and make faces from corn thins, sultanas, grated cheese, etc. Get them to be ok with touching it first. No pressure. Make it safe and fun to be around food. Touching, then picking it up, then kissing it, then licking it, then a bite, a chew and then a swallow. Lots of praise and never any punishment. Always dish up everything to everyone. Let them see you have a positive interaction with food and let them see you eating it and enjoying it. Let them see you not like something but try it anyway and be honest about how you feel about it. Have a preferred food and a non-preferred food at every mealtime. They can eat all of the preferred food and need to try non-preferred food. No pressure. Keep it so relaxed

If you have a picky eater at home, I hope this helps give you some ideas on what you can do to help them expand their palette and try some new foods.

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13 thoughts on “6 Ideas for Helping Picky Eaters”

  1. I wish I had read your post years before when I was struggling with my older daughter, the pickiest of all. These are really great tips.

  2. That was our rule growing up. The had to give it a try. My daughter doesn’t care for green beans. She would eat three green beans when we served them. Now she like green beans.

  3. I have one little who is a much pickier eater than the other. It can quickly become a battle of wills if you let it. These tips are sure to help and I find dipping a lifesaver as well!

  4. These are such good tips and, oh boy, could I have used them when my kids were little. I think my son had a peanut butter sandwich every single day of elementary school!

  5. These are absolutely fabulous ideas to help,amas of picky eaters. Both of my boys were never really picky eaters so I guess I was lucky….

  6. These are amazing ideas for a picky eater! I was blessed with a child that will eat anything except cookies & I am ok with that.. But the kids I babysit are extremely picky!

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