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.