Tips for Picky Eaters

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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?

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.