Advertisement

How should I deal with a picky eater?

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Recognize that it is your responsibility as a parent to prepare and serve the food to your child and your child's responsibility as to how much he/she eats. Also realize that it can take anywhere from 10-20 exposures to a new food before developing a palate. After 3 failed attempts at introducing a new food take a break and try again in a few days/weeks. Encourage your child to enjoy a wide variety of foods, colors, textures and flavors by modeling eating behavior and leading by example.
It is not uncommon for a child to refuse to eat or want to eat the same thing every day. Your best option is to encourage your child to eat healthy foods, but allow him to choose what he wants from the food provided. It may take as many as 20 times for a child to see a new food before he tries it. Offer a few things that he likes and also encourage him to try small bites of a new food item. If he refuses to eat a food or meal, do not force or be too pushy. Forcing a child to eat may decrease his appetite. A child's appetite may be different from day to day, so it is important to be patient. Try to avoid phrases like “If you eat this I will give you this” and If you don’t eat this you won’t get this”. Never punish or reward with food.

Continue Learning about Eating Habits and Nutrition

6 Best Picks and Skips at the Salad Bar
6 Best Picks and Skips at the Salad Bar
Salad bars can be diet salvation or junk-food minefields. Here's how to get from one end to the other without detonating an explosion of bad fats, sod...
Read More
What factors influence our eating behaviors?
James Conroy , NASM Elite TrainerJames Conroy , NASM Elite Trainer
The following are a few keys factors and actions to avoid if you are trying to control your overeati...
More Answers
6 Mealtime Mistakes You're Probably Making
6 Mealtime Mistakes You're Probably Making6 Mealtime Mistakes You're Probably Making6 Mealtime Mistakes You're Probably Making6 Mealtime Mistakes You're Probably Making
Do you clean your plate, pick the wrong sides and skimp on treats?
Start Slideshow
When Does an Odd Food Quirk Become a Health Concern?
When Does an Odd Food Quirk Become a Health Concern?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.