I have a picky eater. He will eat hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit, milk, and anything sweet. I have struggled to get him to eat more variety since he was a toddler.
He’s still picky, but I have developed a few tips and tricks over the years to get him to eat.
Milk As Dessert
I have heard that it is physically impossible to drink a gallon of milk without throwing up. My children would love to take that challenge. They will drink milk until they are blue in the face. I have found that if I give them milk with dinner, all they do is drink. However, if I wait to give it to them until they have eaten, they are more motivated to eat.
Put it on Your Plate
Anything on my plate is a treat. If mommy is about to eat it, they need to try it. I have gotten them to eat granola and yogurt, salad, rice, meat, wheat toast, and high fiber cereal just because it was on my plate.
Call it something Else
Like I said, my picky son LOVES grilled cheese sandwiches. He wants one for lunch and dinner every day. And he would eat them for lunch and dinner every day. For this reason, we may tell him little white lies to expand his palate. The other day we made cheeseburgers. He ate them because we called them grilled cheeseburger sandwiches. He is eating lunch meat now because I tell him it’s a grilled cheese with turkey.
Find ways to hide healthy ingredients. You can find a lot of recipes that hide vegetables in “unhealthy” sounding dishes – lasagna, pasta sauce, burgers, etc. We also do a lot of smoothies. My son will inhale a green smoothie with spinach and kale as long as I add some strong tasting fruit like banana and berries.
Let Them Dip
Ketchup, ranch, mustard, BBQ, veggie dip, fruit dip–miracle foods for picky eaters. If my son can dip it, he will eat it. Truly the sugar content he is getting in ketchup is not close to the nutrition he gets from the meat and veggies he is actually eating.
Praise Your Good Eater
If one kiddo is eating and the other is not, praise the eater instead of focusing on the picky non-eater. The more praise you give the eater, the more the non-eater will want to eat. Using peer pressure for your benefit.
Praise Your Picky Non-Eater
If your non-eater actually tries something, make a BIG deal about it. Give lots of praise and encouragement. Look for the positive.
You Eat It Too
I hate green beans. They are literally the worst food in the world. That and mint chocolate. Whoever thought of that combination was playing a mean joke on society. However, if I make green beans for my kids, you bet I am going to eat a few. I can’t expect them to eat something that I will not.
Make It Fun
Mickey plates, Lighting McQueen spoons, happy face pancakes—make it fun. Turn it into a game. Time them. Be lighthearted.
I was a picky eater too. To be honest, I’m still a little picky. But, I got over it. I got older and tried new foods. I learned the concept of nutrition and changed my eating habits. Keep giving your kids chances to try new foods. Keep presenting them with a balanced diet. They won’t starve if you give them options.