Little boy holding nose

Picky Eaters at Home? Try These Tips from a Nutritionist

By Tasha Rosales, Certified Nutritionist, Wellness Homemade

Changing what a picky eater likes to eat takes time, but it’s worth the effort. It can help them learn to enjoy new foods and grow healthy bodies. There is no one-size-fits all approach for this problem, so read on for my advice both as a mom and a nutritionist about how best to tackle this challenge.

Let Your Kids Help

One of the best ways I’ve found to get my girls to try different foods was to take them with me to the grocery store. Pick out several fruits and vegetables you already know they enjoy and have them pick a new one they haven’t tried before. Then, look up recipes they can make with those vegetables. Letting them choose how the foods are prepared often helps them be more accepting of the food. Then, have them help make that dish so they are extra invested in trying it. I’ve found this to be very effective in getting them to try new foods, it gives them the feeling that they control what they eat. We also talk about other foods they might want to try.

Have Ready to Eat Options

Food choices are often made by how readily available they are. For instance, chips and crackers are always easy for kids to grab, but are not the healthiest option. When I get home from the store, one of the first things I do is cut up carrots, bell peppers and strawberries and put them in a container. I also place a yummy dressing they like nearby so they’re more apt to choose those items. Yogurt and string cheese are also a staple in the house.

My pantry is set up with stations that are created to empower healthier choices. One section is for the kids with Mom-approved snacks they know are ok to eat. I try not to be too restrictive, but I do check labels to make sure they are eating foods that are as “real” as possible, limiting additives, preservatives and dyes. Mixing up the snacks and adding new ones also helps.

Don’t Make Assumptions

One issue I’ve seen with my clients is assuming their child wouldn’t like a food because THEY didn’t like it. For instance, one parent assumed her son wouldn’t like peas because she despised them. Her husband gave their son peas one time, and he LOVED them. Peas became one of his favorite foods, and an easy veggie go-to at dinnertime.

Be Mindful of Your Habits

Eating a variety of healthy foods should be a family affair. Kids can only eat the foods that are available. If you routinely offer mac and cheese, pizza, and hot dogs, because you know they like them, nothing will change for your picky eater. Offering new foods, and eating them yourself can be the catalyst to change. Older kids often widen their palate when they go to a friend’s house who has different foods. Sometimes they will try something to be polite, and then discover it tastes good!

Be Patient

It can be super frustrating when your kids eat only a few foods, or only like unhealthy choices. Trust me, I’ve been through it! But, over restricting or forcing foods doesn’t typically work in your favor. Remember that it takes a child 5 to 10 times of trying a food to determine whether he or she likes it. Giving up completely after one rejected bite by a picky eater might eliminate a food that could be a potential favorite after a few more tries. Preparing the food in a different way can make a huge difference too!

Save Time with Food Prep with Foodom

If you’re struggling to come up with healthy, different options for your kids, Foodom can help. Foodom offers a variety of dishes that are family friendly and made with wholesome ingredients. And, because the food is being prepared by a chef in your home, you can make substitutions or omissions if necessary.

Here are some healthy options for meals and snacks for kids:

Learn how Foodom works here.

About Tasha Rosales, Certified Nutritionist, Wellness Homemade

Wellness Homemade takes a new approach to providing health and wellness coaching that will leave you feeling stronger and healthier than ever. I meet you where you are and provide you with to manage your overall health. 

Check out more information about healthy eating, meal prepping, and more at wellnesshomemade.org.

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