How do I help my picky eater child eat healthy foods?

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. Explore the grocery store or local market together to select new foods. Serve small, bite-size portions of a new food with familiar foods at the meal. Encourage and praise rather than bribe. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Getting your child who is a picky eater to move past the chicken fingers phase and onto healthier foods can be a major challenge. In this video, Dr. Oz and Dr. Tanya Altmann talk about how to get your child into the shop-cook-eat process of healthy eating.
The parent-child struggle over mealtime is one nearly every family goes through at some point. The conflict between your children eating what they need versus your children eating what they want can be a frustrating experience for parent and child alike.

There are ways to encourage your child to eat healthfully without a constant struggle:
  • Make sure your child is hungry at appropriate times by limiting snacking between meals. A healthy afternoon snack is okay, but a hungry child is more likely to eat what you serve at mealtime.
  • Don't pressure your children to eat healthy foods. Discuss benefits of healthy food choices and encourage them to make healthy choices.
  • Serve as a role model for your children. Show them how to eat healthfully by eating healthfully yourself.
  • Take your children to the supermarket and allow them to pick out healthy foods they like. Also, let them help you plan the menus.
  • Plant a vegetable garden with your children. Playing an active role in growing vegetables provides more incentive to eat them.
Picky food tastes are a part of almost every childhood, but by talking with your children and including them in your meal decisions, each meal can include something for everybody.

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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.