Tips to Help Your Picky Eater

Baby in highchair reacts negatively to baby food.

Good nutrition is important for young children to help them grow healthy and strong. Follow these tips to help your picky eater try new foods.

Children may not like every food you give them on the first try. Give them a chance to try foods again and again, even if they don’t like them at first. Children may need to try some foods many times before they like them.

Approaches to Try

  • Try eating the food first to show them you like it. Then, let them try it.
  • Make funny faces with the foods on their plate. It may help them get excited to eat it.
  • Give them a choice of different foods to try. Let them decide which one to try today.
  • Serve new foods with foods you know they like.
  • Try freezing small bites of leftover foods. You can use these later and avoid throwing food away.
  • Wait a couple of days before offering the food again. It can take more than 10 times before your child likes it.

As children get older, they may start refusing foods they used to like or start showing signs of being a picky eater. Favoring just a couple of foods or not wanting foods to touch each other on the plate are normal behaviors. These behaviors often go away by the time the child is about 5 years old.

Try a Variety of Tastes and Textures

Giving your child foods with a variety of different tastes and textures can help them learn to accept and like a variety of foods. You can let your child try a variety of textures including:

  • Smooth (strained or pureed).
  • Mashed or lumpy.
  • Finely chopped or ground.

Start out with smooth or mashed foods first and then move towards finely chopped or ground foods as they get older. This can help your child develop chewing skills, as well as fine motor skills like pinching and picking up food with their fingers. Be sure to offer foods in the right size, consistency, and shape for your child’s age and development to help prevent choking.

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