Help with picky eaters
It can be frustrating if you’re trying to get a picky child to eat healthy foods. But don’t get give up. Here are some tips to help you get a finicky child to eat in healthy ways.
1. Keep to a schedule
Serve meals at the same time each day. Your picky eater will come to know that food is only available at certain times.
2. Get the most from each meal
Always offer healthy foods. It can take 10-20 tries of a new food to truly know if a child does or doesn’t like it. Don’t give up after one try.
3. Have a group of go-to favorites
Try to include one or two items you know your child likes in each meal. It’ll be much easier than giving all new foods to a finicky eater all in the same meal. If you offer at least one food they like, they’re sure to get some healthy calories at every meal.
4. Offer foods in a child-friendly way
Cut food into fun shapes and sizes. This lets children have fun and enjoy feeding themselves.
5. Try healthy dips
Kids love to dip. Low-sugar ketchup, seasoned Greek yogurt dip, and nut butter mixed with Greek yogurt are all great choices.
6. Make healthier versions of popular foods
Chicken nuggets are easy to make healthy. Roll lean chicken breast pieces in whole-wheat bread crumbs. Then bake in the oven. Try the same with fish or tofu sticks. Whole-grain crackers and fruit roll-ups with real fruit and no added sugar are also easy to make at home.
7. Add veggies or fruits when you can
It’s easy to sneak blended veggies into spaghetti sauce, soups or chili. Your child may get used to the flavor of a new food, even if they don’t like how it looks. Move up to adding shredded veggies to meals. Shredded zucchini is a great addition to pasta sauce.
Add applesauce or other fruit purees to baked goods. Fruit is a healthier choice than oil in baking. Shredded fruit is great in pancakes, waffles, oatmeal or muffins.
8. Don’t assume your child won’t like something
Kids have different tastes. Your child might enjoy hummus, avocado or spicy food.
9. Teach by example
You child isn’t likely to eat healthy if you don’t. Eating healthy food is good for the whole family. Try new foods together. But don’t say what you think. Let your children make up their own minds about what they like or dislike.
10. Don’t let children graze all day
You may think you’re letting your child eat when they’re hungry. But grazing can give a feeling of fullness that hides real hunger during the day. Then kids eat less at meals.
11. Don’t fill up on shakes
High-calorie drinks like PediaSure® fill kids up. But they may end up eating less real food at meal times.