Ask a Nutritionist: How do I deal with my picky eater? Central Oregon Nutrition Consultants
Many children are picky eaters! The child who has increased sensitivity to textures and tastes is going to be very resistant to trying new and varied foods. Mealtime can become a battle between parent(s) and child…what’s a parent to do???

Here are six easy steps for tackling mealtimes with a picky eater.

1. Work at making meals relaxed and enjoyable!

  • Give your child positive attention–talk about what’s been going on that day, plans for activities, etc.
  • Limit distractions (e.g., turn off TV and radio)
  • Do not focus on whether or not your child is eating. (That’s right…no nagging.)

2. Serve foods and drinks in attractive, kid sized containers

  • Use colorful plates, bowls and cups, straws, placemats…

3. Serve your child very small portions of food at one time.

  • Large amounts of food can be overwhelming to a child who does not have much of an appetite or is leery of new tastes and textures.
  • Use a fun, compartmentalized plate for your young child.

4. Make foods interesting!

  • Use cookie cutters to cut out cheese or bread for sandwiches.
  • Draw pictures on pancakes using raisins or berries.

5. Offer your child 3 meals + 2 to 3 snacks daily

  • At least 2 to no more than 4 hours between eating times. That’s right…in order to be hungry enough for mealtime, children need to work up an appetite for AT LEAST 2 hours before mealtime! (Relax…no child is going to starve in 2 hours.)
  • Offer only water between scheduled eating times. We can’t stress this enough. Juice, milk, and other drinks can fill kids up before meals, making them less likely to eat…and more likely to ask for yet another “snack” later on.

6. Get your child involved in food preparation.

  • Fact: If a child helps prepare a food, she is much more likely to eat it. (Another fun thing to do with kids: grow some veggies! No yard? How about some windowsill herbs for cooking?)
  • A preschooler can help tear up lettuce for a salad, pour ingredients into a bowl, put bread in a basket (be creative…and most importantly, have fun!)
  • Older children can become very involved in grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking.

Remember to follow our Pinterest board specifically with tips and tricks designed to help you deal with your picky eater.