Are Your Kids Picky Eaters, Too?
Can’t seem to find time to read all of those parenting books and magazines? Don’t have a lot of mommy friends to bounce ideas off of? Kids go crazy every time you get on the phone to ask a friend their advice? No problem; I’ll do the work for you! Each Thursday I will be bringing you kid-tested tips and parenting solutions for a specific parenting challenge “from the mouths of moms.” Direct quotes from a diverse group of mom bloggers with kids of all ages and tons of ideas and answers. Yep – meet your new mommy friends!
If you have picky eaters like I do, you’ll appreciate all of this great mommy advice from those who have “been there, done that!” Let’s see how these experienced moms deal with picky eating…
Alright Mamas, how do you deal with picky eaters?
1. Pair new foods with tried and true foods.
“We are giving what we know he likes to eat plus introducing a new food each meal time.” Cerys from Rainy Day Mum
2. Present new foods several times.
“I also try to constantly expose her to new foods. She often decides she doesn’t like something without even trying it, but after being presented with it several times, she buckles, tries it, and more frequently than not, likes it.” Crystal from Growing a Jeweled Rose
3. Introduce foods as early as appropriate for age.
“Introduce all foods as early as the experts say you can. When they’re young (one year), they’ll pretty much eat anything if you keep offering it. If you hold off and try to introduce it when they’re older, you’ll have much less success.” Jackie from Happy Hooligans
4. Don’t make separate foods for your child.
“In the great book, The Family Dinner, she (Laurie David) stresses not making separate food for children (something I have mastered yet with my toddler), but encouraging them to eat what everyone else is eating. She says that eventually (even if they don’t at first), they expand their horizons and dig in.” Jennifer from The Good Long Road
5. Don’t force it.
“My 3 year old daughter is very picky (and has always been), but we don’t force her to eat anything or make up rules she has to follow because I don’t want her developing strange attitudes toward food. Girls will have more than ample opportunities to form poor relationships with their bodies and food when they’re older, I don’t want to contribute to that through any type of coercion.” Chrissy from The Outlaw Mom
8. Roll the dice for each bite.
“I have heard and not tried having children roll a die and they have to take the number of bites that equals the number of dots that come up on the die.” Dierdre from JDaniel4’s Mom
9. Use small containers.
“I find that serving food in small containers makes them more attractive.” MaryAnne from Mama Smiles
10. Give foods silly names.
“I rename some of the vegetables…for example, when I introduced broccoli, I called it a tree. She loves it and to this day calls it a tree.” Maria from Mama Mia’s Heart2Heart
12. Add veggies into baked goods.
“Put vegetables like carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes in sweet baked goods like muffins and cookies. If texture is an issue, use pureed baby food vegetables in the baked goods. They will hardly notice.” Rebekah from The Golden Gleam
13. Require “One Polite Bite.”
“I use the ‘One Polite Bite’ rule. He must take one bite of everything on his plate. He has discovered he actually likes some of the food I prepare. I also try to repeat a food he learns that he likes very soon after the ‘One Polite Bite’ day.” Danielle from 52 Brand New
14. Tie special meals into special events.
“When we were little my mom would make a stir fry with broccoli, onions, tomatoes and beef, but she called it Karate Supper and served it on the same night that my brother had karate classes. Worked like a charm.” Jennifer from The Good Long Road
15. Teach kids about nutrition.
“I do teach and repeat that protein and calcium are necessary for strong muscles and bones, vegetables provide minerals and vitamins, etc., so she knows the nutritional value of food, which helps her make better food choices and be more open to try new foods.” Chrissy from The Outlaw Mom
16. Get the kids in the kitchen.
“I’ve found that involving my son in the process of making his meals has helped tremendously with his eating. The more you can get them involved, I think, the better. If we grow a vegetable in our garden and he cares for it, he’s more likely to eat that vegetable. If he has a hand in washing and preparing and cooking, he’s happier to try his dish.” Joyce from Childhood Beckons
17. Get creative with utensils.
“Get a bit creative with eating utensils and make it fun, follow your child’s interests and incorporate them into mealtimes. Try eating large pasta spirals with mini tongs or serve dinner in the back of a (clean!) toy dump truck, even something as simple as stickers of their favourite characters on their cutlery can make things more enticing.” Carrie from A Little Learning for Two
18. Involve kids in meal planning.
“We are trying to involve Princess Pea in the ‘what shall we have for dinner?’ discussions when possible so that she’s more likely to eat what we make.” Jane from Mama Pea Pod
19. Give lots of praise and positive reinforcement.
“I try and fuss as little as possible and try foods again and again (it can take 5-7 tries for a child to like something). Always praising good eating.” Maggy from Red Ted Art
20. Pretend to be animals.
“I’ve had a lot of success with pointing out different animals that eat the foods. For example, my 2 year-old loves spinach now because we call it ‘bunny food.’” Katey from Having Fun at Home
21. Have a party in their tummy.
“There’s a Yo Gabba Gabba video about Brobee eating his lunch…he eats his chicken, cheese and juice, but leaves the green beans and carrots. The carrots and green beans start crying because they want to go to the party in his tummy. We watched this several times and once she stopped loving vegetables (so sad that day came), I’d say “Oh no! Your carrots are SO sad! They want to go to the party in your tummy!” And she’d gobble them up.” Adrienne from The Iowa Farmer’s Wife
22. Plant a garden.
“We grow our own vegetables. When the children have helped pick the seeds, and helped plant them, they can’t help wanting to eat them straight from the garden.” Heather from wordplayhouse
23. Tire the kids out!
“One other tip – I LOVE introducing new foods on days when they have spent a lot of time running about outdoors, working up a healthy appetite!” MaryAnne from Mama Smiles
25. Show your muscles.
“I make a big deal about how vegetables make us strong and healthy, and we show off our muscles after we eat. It’s actually hilarious to see her proud of her muscles after she eats.” Rebekah from The Golden Gleam
Fun Stuff to Help Picky Eaters
Check out these fun products and books that might help get your picky eaters eating, too!
How do you deal with your picky eaters? Any tips or tricks to add? Let us know in the comments below!