Picky Eating

A child who is a picky eater pushing away a bowl of food in disgust
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Picky Eater Tips From Real Parents, Because You're Tired Of Losing It

Because apparently shouting "OMG IT'S A STRAWBERRY, JUST EAT IT" doesn't always work.

Originally Published: 
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You know they're not going to starve, but you just want them to try one tiny pea.

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“I’ve started setting all of the food on the table so my kids can pick what they want on their plate. It’s really helped them feel more in control of their meal when they can scoop out their own rice or put chicken on their own plate.” — Samantha, mom of two

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“Let them help you in the kitchen! I can’t explain it, but my picky 5-year-old will try any kind of vegetable during meal prep. It’s like they had to see you cook it to know it’s not poison.” — Jamie, mom of two

Let your kids help plan the menu. If mine know they’re going to get spaghetti, tacos, and macaroni all in one week, it’s like they feel safer agreeing to salmon and veggies later in the week

Julie, mom of three

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“Literally just keep serving it. It might take a few weeks, but eventually they’ll touch it or lick it or even chew up a piece. I put peas on my kid’s plate every night for three weeks before he started thinking of them as a familiar food and ate a few.” — Melanie, mom of oneShutterstock

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“We always serve at least one thing we know the kids will eat. Even if that thing is bread or a side of fruit or whatever. Eating begets eating, so often when they eat their ‘safe’ food on the plate, then they’re willing to try the new thing.” — Nick, father of two

“It’s probably not good, but I tell my 3-year-old everything’s chicken. I just say it looks different because of how I cooked it. It’s worked for turkey at Thanksgiving, pork, spaghetti sauce, and tilapia. Eventually I’ll have to tell her the truth, I guess.” — Jen, mom of oneShutterstock

It sounds so gross, but I let my kids try new things by dipping them into whatever they want. Broccoli in ketchup? Go for it. Parmesan cheese on top of carrots? Yeah, OK. I’ve watched my 6-year-old dip kiwi in ranch dressing and eat it. Whatever works.

Kelly, mom of two

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“We moved dinner up to 5:00 and it changed everything. I think mine were so picky because they were so tired and hungry by 6:30. Plus, it took away two hours of begging for snacks, which would leave them full or only wanting crackers instead of dinner.” — Lauren, mom of threeShutterstock
“Floor picnics. Sometimes I serve it on their tea set and we make a ‘pinkies out’ rule. It doesn’t mean they’ll eat everything, but it usually means they’re a little more willing to try things out. I think the dinner table is sometimes too much pressure.” — Vanessa, mom of two.Shutterstock

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“We use fun toothpicks, as suggested by Feeding Littles. Sometimes my kid will only eat vegetables if she’s got these little toothpicks shaped like animals to pick up the green bean or whatever. I don’t know why it works, but it does.” — Hannah, mom of one

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