10 Tips For Outsmarting Picky Eaters

10 Tips For Outsmarting Picky Eaters

Although it’s normal for kids to be picky eaters, that doesn’t make it any easier for parents. Being patient helps, but there are additional ways to make mealtimes more pleasant. When it comes to picky eaters, sometimes you have to outsmart them! Parents are responsible for the what, when, and where of feedings. It’s up to the child to decide if, what, and how much he will eat. Respect your child’s food preferences, which will change over time – we all have foods don’t enjoy. Here are some top tips for your picky eater.


1.  Have a Strategy

Approaching snacks and mealtimes with a strategy can help a great deal. It “arms” you, the parent, with a response to begging, not finishing food, and refusal to eat certain foods. Read on for some specifics on strategy.

2.  Loosen the Control Grip

Unfortunately, parents often grab for more control when there’s a situation that needs “correcting” – whether it’s an overweight child or a picky eater. The problem with this, though, is that it may create an obsession with “forbidden” foods, or set your child up to make excuses to reward him or herself by eating comfort foods. In an era when more than half of Americans are overweight, we need to take special care not to set our kids up for a weight struggle later in life. So relax, and focus on teaching your child to listen to his or her body.

If your child refuses to eat what is served, do not get her something else to eat. It’s okay to have her wait until the next scheduled meal or snack to eat (no more than 2 to 3 hours later). Children are more likely to try a new or previously disliked item if it is served with a familiar or favorite food; however, don’t pressure your child to eat it. And don’t give up: children sometimes require 10 to 15 exposures to a food before they will eat it, so continue to serve foods your child refuses. Try serving an item different ways: if your child refuses cooked carrots, try serving raw carrot sticks. And take breaks – re-introduce a food that your child won’t eat in a couple of months; you might be surprised!  Try to avoid using dessert or a treat as a reward for finishing a meal. Don’t coax, beg, bribe, force-feed, or play games to get your child to eat.

3.  Plan Meals and Snacks

Establish regular meal and snack times: 3 meals and usually 3 snacks each day; toddlers and preschoolers need to eat about every 2 to 3 hours. Don’t offer anything besides water between meals and snacks – this allows your child to get hungry. Having meals planned and including snacks (so your child doesn’t have to beg for a snack every day, and you “give in” and let him/her eat junk food) may help a lot with picky eating. Kids tend to respond positively to routine.

4.  Keep Foods Simple

Make foods as plain and easy-to-eat as possible. Casseroles are tempting because they are easy and inexpensive, but kids tend to shun “mixtures.” Offer foods separately rather than mixed up in a casserole, gravy or sauce, salad, or sandwich.  You may find that simple, plain foods are actually easier to prepare in the end! Finger foods tend to be a big hit, like sandwiches, and vegetables and dip, sliced fruit, and simple pastas are often popular.

5.  Hide the Veggies and Fruits

Fresh veggies and fruits can be whizzed in a blender with jarred spaghetti sauce, cheese dip, and pizza sauce. Speaking of pizza, mince up spinach or zucchini and sprinkle over pizza. Cover with veggie pepperoni and a moderate amount of cheese.

6.  Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Involve your child as much as possible in grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, and growing foods in your garden (which kids love!). Your child is more likely to eat and enjoy something he was involved in. Also, allow your child to make decisions when appropriate; occasionally offer him a choice between 2 foods, such as 1/2 of a banana or some grapes (cut in half due to risk of choking). Just make sure that each option is something healthy and acceptable. This helps the child feel like he or she has a “voice” in what is eaten, and also introduces them to variety that is a key to healthy eating.

7.  Funny Food

Check the internet for fun ways to prepare food. You can make landscapes with rice or mashed potatoes as a background; cut fruit and cheese into shapes; and cut bread into shapes as well. There are so many things you can do to make food fun and beautiful to look at – and somehow, kids tend to like eating these fun landscapes!

8.  Serve small portions

About 1 Tablespoon per year of your child’s age of each food offered. This will prevent your child from becoming overwhelmed and increase the likelihood she will eat it. If your child wants more, she can ask for seconds.

9.  Variety

Offer a variety of nutritious foods at each meal. Always be sure to include at least one or two healthy items you know your child enjoys and will eat.


10.  Make mealtimes pleasant and enjoyable

Eat together as often as possible, and set a good example regarding healthful eating and appropriate table manners. Try not to get upset or frustrated if your child refuses to eat; don’t allow mealtimes to become a battle.




Thank you for reading this article on 10 Tips For Outsmarting Picky Eaters.  Here are a few books that you might enjoy!

In homes around the country, parents are fighting a difficult battle: trying to get their picky eaters to eat healthy foods without ruining family mealtime. We all know that it is critical for kids to develop sound eating habits at a young age to set them up for a lifetime of good health. However, as any time-crunched parent will tell you, it is all too easy to give in to your child’s refusal to eat anything but chicken fingers and French fries. Children’s food expert Annabel Karmel is here to help with 135 fast, yummy, and nutritious recipes that will tempt even the fussiest eaters.
In The Fussy Eaters’ Recipe Book, Annabel shows how to sneak fruits and vegetables into child-friendly recipes to boost their nutritional content. Her Bolognese pasta sauce is packed with five different kinds of veggies — and tastes just like the kids’ menu favorite. But Annabel also believes that it’s important for kids to learn to actually like healthy meals. An expert on the mind-set of fussy eaters, she provides sound strategies that can coax even the pickiest child to try new foods. You’ll be amazed that salmon, sweet potatoes, and even spinach can develop into foods that your child will want to eat, and before you know it, mealtime will actually be something the whole family looks forward to.
In The Fussy Eaters’ Recipe Book, you will find:
– Healthy versions of junk food classics – Simple, easy-to-prepare food that the whole family will enjoy – Nutritious snacks to entice even the fussiest eaters – Recipes for gluten-intolerant children – Delicious and nutrient-packed desserts


Packing your child’s lunch box doesn’t have to mean another peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of chips. Renowned children’s cooking and nutrition expert Annabel Karmel shares more than 120 healthy, creative recipe ideas as well as time-saving hints and tips that will help you make a complete and nutritious lunch without increasing the chaos of your morning routine.
Lunch Boxes and Snacks is packed with mouthwatering recipes that can boost your child’s brainpower, increase energy, and strengthen the immune system. You’ll find a wide range of delicious and easy lunch ideas, from Oriental Turkey Wraps, Individual Focaccia Pizzas, and Chicken Superfood Salad to Trail Mix Bars and Fruit on a Stick, that guarantee that your child will be the envy of the cafeteria.
In Lunch Boxes and Snacks you will find:
Inspirations for hot meals that can be packed in a thermos for winter days
Quick recipes that can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge or freezer
Tips to get your child involved in the lunch-making process
Helpful hints on packing your child’s lunch box so that food stays safe to eat
With Annabel’s help, even the busiest parents can easily pack a healthy and tasty lunch that their child will look forward to eating.

Turn “Yuck!” into “Yum!”
How often do you find yourself begging or bribing your child to eat? Every parent experiences the frustration of picky eating, but how do you know if it’s just a passing phase—or cause for concern? Pediatric nutritionist Linda Piette has the answers that will help you solve the frustrating problem of infant, toddler, and preschooler mealtimes.
Filled with insightful and inspiring stories of many children’s struggles with food, Just Two More Bites! gives concrete help to frustrated parents with real-life answers for how to handle day-to-day food struggles. Inside, Piette will also tell you:
• How to make food more appealing to children
• Why your child loves a food one day and rejects it the next
• How to spot food allergies and digestion problems
• Mealtime Do’s and Don’ts
Just Two More Bites! will revolutionize mealtimes in your home and help you and your child enjoy food and develop a lifetime of healthy eating habits.


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Here are a few blogs and videos that also cover Tips For Picky Eaters:

How to Outsmart Your Kids With Child Psychology

The Science of Picky Eaters – Nova Science Now

Feeding Babies & Children : How to Feed Picky Eaters



Blog #1

7 Ways to End Picky Eating

Cool Road Trips for Families. Sign up to get holiday recipes, crafts and stress-less tips delivered right to your inbox. more >> …. Mind if I give it to your brother?” at which point, some inexplicable competitive urge kicks in, and the petulant child turns into a food-eating dynamo and polishes off everything on his plate. 7. Save room for dessert. I can’t lie: Ice cream often tastes better than anything on the planet. Life has its share of Great ways to outsmart and distract! Very positive ideas.


Blog #2

Hiding Veggies to Outsmart Picky Eaters: Yes or No?

Tell me: How do you feel about hiding vegetables? Do you have other tricks for dealing with picky eaters? Post them below. And visit Eat Healthy for kid-friendly recipes and tips for making food fast, fun, frugal, and eco-friendly


Blog #3

Do You Have Picky Eaters?

With a little imagination and creativity you can get your picky eater to eat more and experiment with foods they normally would not have eaten. Here’s a tip: blend vegetables into a puree and add to spaghetti sauce. April 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm. I have cooked at a daycare for over 3 yrs now and something that I have found to work really well is encourage the picky eaters to take at least one bite of the undesired food. What happens then is after having taken one bite

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