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5 Ways to Handle a Picky Eater

No matter what food you put in front of your child, it ends up untouched, or better yet on the floor.


Because he either:

a.) didn’t want to eat

b.) said he wasn’t hungry

c.) didn’t like what was in front of him


If this happens once in a while you can probably handle it, but for many parents, this is a daily occurrence that happens multiple times throughout the course of a day.



Since your child needs to eat and you need to maintain your sanity, you really need to know how to handle a picky eater. Here are some tips:



Don’t force your child to eat something. While it may seem tempting to force your child to eat the food that’s been sitting in front of them for twenty minutes, resist the urge. This may only make things worse and set off a power struggle between the two of you. Also, don’t force them to clean their plate. This could result in issues with hunger as well as fullness cues down the road.





Be patient with new foods. Did you know that it can take a child up to 15 times to try a new food and actually like it? Just because he threw the peas on the floor the first time doesn’t mean he won’t like them the fifth time or maybe even the tenth time! Since our taste buds are naturally made to like sweet foods, it can be hard for kids to like new foods that are put on their plate. Kids also have more taste buds than adults do so every flavor is much more powerful. Combine the two factors and you’ve got a recipe for a picky eater.



Don’t be a short order cook. If your child refuses to eat what’s on the table, don’t cave in and make something else you know he’s going to eat…like chicken nuggets. Doing this only encourages the pickiness. Eventually, he’ll learn to eat what’s made. Eventually.



Make it fun. Involve your child in the food prep if possible and present the food in a fun way. Instead of just dishing out the food, see if it can be cut into special shapes or arranged differently on the plate. Presentation is everything!





Pair new foods with ones that are already winners. If you know your child eats cut-up chicken, mix chopped up cooked carrots in with it. When food is disguised with something your child already likes, you may have more success actually getting them to eat it. It’s worth a try!



As difficult as it may be, try not to get upset or yell when your picky eater becomes a little hard to handle. You don’t want your child to associate mealtime with yelling. That will only make the problem worse. Remember to be patient! Picky eaters usually grow out of this phase!

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