Parents: Encourage Your Picky Eater to Try New Dishes

Everyone, adults and kids both, has foods that they dislike. While it’s perfectly all right for a child to have food preferences, picky eating can be problematic. Picky eaters tend to have a very narrow list of “acceptable” dishes, which can limit their nutrient intake and make life difficult for their parents. If you have a selective eater, try these tricks to encourage him or her to sample new foods.

 

Give your child some decision-making authority.

All children go through developmental stages in which they feel compelled to exert their growing independence. This is natural, and it doesn’t mean that your child is just being non-compliant. An effective workaround involves giving your child limited decision-making authority. Involve your child in the weekly meal planning process. Ask your child to help you select vegetables at the supermarket. You can also involve your child in the food preparation process. Ask his or her opinion. For example, ask, “Do you think these noodles need more sauce?” or “Try these sauteed carrots and tell me if you think they’re done cooking.”

 

Accommodate your child’s food preferences.

You can accommodate your child’s food preferences without catering to them and without limiting the intake of important nutrients. For example, your child might go through a phase when all he or she wants to eat is breaded chicken fingers. Clearly, this is unhealthy, but you can use it to tempt your child to try grilled chicken instead or perhaps even raw carrot sticks with the honey mustard sauce your child likes to use with chicken fingers.

 

Use a no-pressure approach.

On average, children need to be exposed to a new food 10 to 15 times before liking it. However, if a child is pressured to try or like a new food, he or she probably won’t. Instead, you could frequently place a small portion of the new food on your child’s plate. Praise your child for trying it, but stay neutral if he or she doesn’t.


Truffle Pig is a popular restaurant located at the base of the ski area in Steamboat Springs, CO. Its kids’ menu offers delicious and nutritious meals that even picky eaters will love. You can call the restaurant at (970) 879-7470 to request a reservation.