Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters
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Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters

Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters

The holiday eating season is almost here. Are your kids open to trying all the amazing food that will be on the table? If you have a picky eater, try these tips to hopefully ease them into tasting more variety.

Build Trust

The goal should be to get kids to try something at least once, but also establish trust that they can tell you “no” without consequence. When a child refuses to eat something, it’s one of the few things they actually can control. This can be frustrating and concerning for parents when kids might only want to eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs. 

Try to establish a system that when you bring them something new, they must at least try it before refusing it. When they agree, tell them, “Thank you for trying.” 

Acknowledging them helps eliminate some of the anxiety associated with trying something new and lets them know you support them. When the child tries new food, look at their reaction. If they enjoy it, then look each other in the eyes and connect by saying, “Mmmmm,” together. If they didn’t, then tell them,” It’s OK, I am so proud of you that you tried!” And then give them the food they know. 

If the goal is to get kids to eat something that will be served at Thanksgiving dinner, then start offering those foods in meals, allowing time to adapt to new textures and new flavors. 

Consistency is Key

Trying new foods takes courage, patience, and trust from your kids. It falls on the parent to embody patience and understanding to consistently demonstrate it's OK to say no to foods — but only after trying once. 

Consistently offer new flavors, but ease into it. Perhaps try two days of their comfort food then two days of new food — with their comfort food on deck if they won’t eat the new. 

Also, to build anticipation, I would let my son know during his comfort food time that I had something new and special for him to try for the next dinner. This gives him time to ask questions and allows me to make that next meal sound extra delicious. 

Adventure Food

Try making going out to eat out an exciting experience you can hardly wait to share with them. Pick a restaurant that serves the comfort food they love for backup, but pick something you think they might like to share with you. Ask them to put on their favorite shirt and shoes. 

Share the excitement of looking at the menu together. If they liked something new, then that’s a new meal to make at home. If they didn’t, that’s one you both can laugh off.


Bio: Loving husband and father Akira Monma is a senior software engineer for Collins Aerospace. The former gymnastics instructor and competitive break dancer coaches and instills confidence in students to realize the greatness he sees in them. He also is the founder of ImagineDads YouTube channel.


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