Do you see your picky eater in the samples below? Try my suggestions to help your child eat a healthier diet. Be patient and give yourself at least 6 months for your Picky Eater Project–it does not change overnight.
I only eat white bread.
Change in steps. For example, keep the white bread in the sandwich at lunch, but buy whole-wheat bread and covertly use it to make French toast. Make pancakes using half regular flour and half whole wheat. Offer toasted whole wheat bread with yummy toppings (or cinnamon toast?). Or keep the white bread, but explain that 2 other “categories” need to be higher fiber–for example, use Triscuits or Ak-Mak crackers, and oatmeal as a hot cereal. There are many new brands of “white fiber” pasta that are actually made with whole grains or a blend of grains.
I only eat apples, no other fruit.
You don’t want to suggest eating LESS of a fruit or veggie. Instead, I would persistently serve other items at the same time.
I hate all vegetables.
Buy them often. Cook them often. Eat them yourself, often. Serve them to your child at least once a day, a tiny portion, without pressure. Ask them to just “kiss” the vegetable, or taste it with their tongue. If they are the gagging and dramatic type, give them an out–either they do not need to put the whole thing in their mouth, or they can spit it out in a napkin. KEEP TRYING–it can take 20 times for a child to accept a new food. Try all kinds, plain, flavored, roasted, soups, salads, veggies with dip, etc.
I will only eat drive-through chicken nuggets.
First, set a frequency limit–perhaps half the time you are presently buying them. Second, you MUST adjust your schedule on some days, so the drive through is not your only option. After school for example, you could ask them to finish their lunch, or have other snacks packed with you, or wait till they get home and make them something there. Third, explain to your child why they can’t have them all the time. Fourth, experiment with making chicken at home–see the RECIPES section for a suggestion. Also look for BACKWARDS EATING–coming soon–an explanation about why these chicken tenders are so attractive to kids, and why it is so hard to get some kids to eat “real chicken.” Lastly, make the meal a little more boring–tell them when they order the chicken it can come with water and fruit only, not juice or fries.
Other Tips for Picky Eaters
- Have compassion.
We all have certain preferences when it comes to food. You may like your coffee a certain way
- Start at the store.
If your child demands only Cocoa Pebbles, for example, and you would like them to branch out, the first step is to STOP BUYING THEM! Or, buy them but let your child know they will be able to choose them X times per week instead of their current daily habit.