If you have kids at home, you’ve more likely than not had your fair share of picky eater battles. From “that looks gross” to “I don’t like that,” it can be hard to encourage your picky eater to branch out and try new foods. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some tips and tricks for dealing with picky eaters. These ideas aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution that will apply to every child, but we think they can make eating new things more fun for your kids… and hopefully less stressful for you.
Use Ice Cube Trays
One creative way to introduce your child to new foods is by using an ice cube tray to separate the different types of food into small portions. It puts a little fun into trying the new food, it’s colorful, and it only gives them a small portion to try. (This idea is a double-win for children who don’t like their foods touching!)
Make Dinner Together
Let your picky eater help you make dinner. The task could be as simple as rinsing off the veggies or as involved as chopping them; whatever it is, it gets children familiar with the food they’re about to try. There’s also a good chance that they’ll be excited to try this new food since they helped prepare it.
(Check out these kid-friendly kitchen knives.)
Take Them Grocery Shopping
Similar to preparing dinner, going grocery shopping can help your child get familiar with different foods before it’s time to eat them. If you’re feeling adventurous, let them pick out any fruit or vegetable (that they’ve never tried). This may get them more excited about trying new things, rather than feeling constantly forced to try new foods.
Have Fun with Food
We’ve all heard (and most of us have probably said it), “Don’t play with your food.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it! Simple games like “Eat Your Colors” turns eating new foods into an exciting activity. This is especially fun for kids who are learning their colors. You can say something like, “Everyone at the table has to find something yellow on their plate and eat it.” Then go around the table and take turns saying what color food you have to eat.
We wouldn’t recommend doing this at every meal, because it can certainly make dinner a lot longer. 🙂 But enjoy it every once in awhile!
Prepare Foods in New Ways
Sometimes it takes trying foods multiple times before you find a way that you like it. Foods can be baked, mashed, boiled, roasted, and fried, just to name a few ways! On top of that, the seasoning combinations you can use on foods are endless. So if your child doesn’t think he likes cauliflower, try making cauliflower “rice” or cauliflower “mashed potatoes.” If he doesn’t like boiled carrots, try roasting them. Don’t give up on a certain food if your child has only tried it one way.
Limit Snacking Before a Meal
If children aren’t hungry, they’re less likely to eat their dinner or try new foods. Try not to serve them a snack too close to dinner, so they’ll be ready to enjoy a complete (and nutritious!) dinner. Sugary snacks and drinks can have the same effect, taking away their appetite for dinner.
Try New Foods Together
Showing your child that you are willing to try new foods sets the example for them to follow. Find a fruit or vegetable that neither of you have tried, and have fun trying it for the first time together. This will show your child that trying new foods doesn’t have to be as terrible as they think.