How to Get Your Picky Eater to Eat

Parenting is challenging enough without living with a picky eater.  Picky eaters can be especially difficult when the family is eating out.  Will there be something on the menu that your child will eat?  Should you pack something you know, he’ll eat just in case?

There’s always the chance he will have a meltdown in the middle of a family restaurant.  Then, you worry that she’s not getting all the nutrients she needs.  What can a parent do to help their child try new foods?

Take It Slow

According to research, you may need to expose your child to a new food ten to 15 times before he will agree to taste it.  That may seem like an overwhelming number of times, but the upside is you don’t need to panic if the child doesn’t like a food the first few times.  Keeping your stress level low creates a better environment for both you and your child.

Mix It Up

Don’t feed your child the same food two days in a row.   By varying the foods your child eats, you are helping her learn not to expect the same foods every day.  For example, your child had carrots for lunch on Monday and wants them again on Tuesday.  Instead of giving her carrots, tell her that she had carrots yesterday, so today she can choose from peas or squash.  Tomorrow she can have carrots again if she wants.

Let Them Help

Children who participate in food preparation are more accepting of different foods.  Let children help prepare meals or snacks.  Giving them control over a part of food preparation makes eating less confrontational.  You are less likely to hear “What’s that?” if your child helped but “that” together.

Cut Out Snacks

If your child isn’t eating at meals, it may be he is getting too many snacks throughout the day.  Take a close look at how often and how much your child snacks.  Liquids can cause the same problem.  If your child drinks too much milk or juice throughout the day, he isn’t going to be hungry at meals.  Children are more receptive to trying new foods if they’re hungry.