Pediatrics Northwest: 6 Tips for Winning Over Picky Eaters

Getting young children to eat a balanced, healthy diet can be a definite challenge. But it’s important to remember that as you help your child learn healthy eating habits for life, the foundation of healthy eating outweighs the challenges by far. Nonetheless, it can still be a difficult phase, so here are some ways to ease you through this trying season.

1. Minimize mealtime distractions.

Turn off the television, clear toys from the dining table, and implement a “no phone at the table” rule to help everyone focus on the family conversation and their food.

2. Set a good example.

Eat together as a family as often as possible and eat a variety of healthy foods yourself. You are your child’s best role model; let them see you enjoying healthy foods and they will follow.

3. Don’t force your child to clean their plate.

Instead, avoid the power struggle by encouraging them to try at least two bites of everything on their plate.

4. Think about how you brand it.

Food becomes more approachable with a fun name attached to it. Think “pinwheel sandwiches” rather than turkey and cheese rolled up in a tortilla, “pink fish” rather than salmon, or “miniature trees” rather than broccoli.

5. Get your child involved.

Encourage them to help you shop for healthy food at the grocery store, then let them help wash and prepare the fruits and vegetables. Being a part of the process makes kids more interested in the end result on their plate.

6. Let your child have a say by giving them choices with limited options.

Ask questions like: Milk or water with dinner? Purple cup or green cup? Superhero plate or Mickey Mouse plate? This keeps your child feeling like their input matters while also keeping the conversation focused.

Pediatrics Northwest