Tips for Picky Eaters
Keep Trying. Offer a new food multiple times.
If your child doesn’t want new food, that’s okay! You can always try it again later.
Many kids need to see and taste a new food several times (15 or more!) before they learn to like it.
Kids learn to like new foods by:
Having them offered over and over.
Having them served with familiar foods.
Seeing friends, older kids, and grown-up eating these foods.
Tasting them prepared in different ways.
Picking out their food from 2 healthy choices that you offer.
Starting with small amounts.
Try new foods in different ways:
Serve fruits and vegetables raw with a side of dip.
Steam, roast, and bake veggies—and fruits, too!
Warm fruits like apples, pears, and peaches for a softer texture.
Try frozen or canned fruit—but make sure to find ones packed in 100% juice or water.
Taste new vegetables:
If your children are unsure of vegetables, top them with cheese sauces, peanut sauces, ranch dips, and pesto to make them more appealing.
Mix vegetables with foods that your kids already like.
Try vegetables as pizza toppings for more color and flavor!
Hide vegetables in mash potatoes or in sauces like spaghetti sauce.
If you find a vegetable that they like, keep serving it!
What does your child eat?
Knowing what tastes your child prefers can help you figure out which new foods they might prefer.
If your child likes sweet foods, try sweet tasting vegetables like carrots, parsnips, or beets.
If your child enjoys bananas, they might like other soft fruits like avocados. They may also enjoy soft canned fruits and vegetables.
Get more good ideas from these sources:
Provide many healthy options, but let kids serve themselves.
Kids like to make choices. Let them do that by providing many healthy options that they can choose from.
Start out small. Give them a spoonful. If they like it, they can get more.
Let children eat how much they would like—whether that be a lot or a little. Forcing them to eat a certain amount will not create a fondness for the food.
Have fresh fruit ready to eat:
Chop and store fruit in the refrigerator.
Store whole fruits on the counter.
Have canned fruits in the pantry.
Keep salad or easy-to-grab vegetables in the fridge during the week.
Store frozen vegetables in the freezer and microwave later.
Cookies and crackers can be an occasional treat.
Every child is different.
Every kid has different tastes, just like every adult. Some children will be adventurous, and others will need time to get used to new foods. Patience is the key!
Because all kids have different tastes, you shouldn’t compare your child’s preferences to others of the same age.
This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.