How to Handle a Picky Eater: Tips for Encouraging Healthy Eating in Your Child

Picky Eater


Dealing with a picky eater can be challenging for parents, but it’s a common phase that many children go through. However, fret not! We understand your concerns, and that’s why we’re here to offer guidance and support. In this blog, we will provide you with essential tips to gently steer your picky eater towards a path of healthy eating and exploring new foods. By being a positive role model, staying patient, and employing some fun strategies, you can help your child develop a diverse and balanced diet.

Set the Example:

Lead by example! Your child learns from observing your eating habits. Demonstrate your enjoyment of healthy foods and try new dishes yourself. Encourage your picky eater to join you in the culinary adventure, making mealtime a shared experience. Your enthusiasm can spark their curiosity and make them more receptive to trying new foods.

Be Patient and Avoid Confrontations:

Patience is key when dealing with a picky eater. Avoid turning mealtime into a battleground by staying calm and composed. Don’t focus excessively on their eating habits, as this may reinforce their picky behavior. Instead, gently encourage them to try new foods without coercion or force. Trust that they will eventually develop healthier eating habits at their own pace.

Keep Offering New Foods:

Persistence pays off! It may take several attempts for a picky eater to develop a liking for new foods. Continue offering small portions of fresh and nutritious dishes alongside their favorite options. Encourage your child to take a bite, but don’t pressure them to finish the plate. Remember, gradual exposure to new foods increases the likelihood of acceptance.

Avoid Being a “Short-Order Cook”:

Avoid falling into the trap of becoming a short-order cook. Offering multiple meal options when your child rejects a dish can reinforce their control over food choices. Instead, trust that your child will eat enough to meet their nutritional needs. Remember, even picky eaters will consume what they need to grow and thrive.

Share Family Meals:

Family meals are an excellent opportunity to promote healthy eating habits. Set aside technology and enjoy meals together, modeling balanced eating choices. Incorporate at least one food your picky eater enjoys, such as whole-grain rolls or fresh fruits and vegetables.

Cook with Your Picky Eater:

Involve your child in meal preparation to pique their interest in trying new foods. Toddlers can help wash fruits and vegetables, while older kids can assist with chopping and measuring ingredients. Consider getting kid-friendly cookbooks and let them choose recipes to explore. Take them along to grocery shopping trips to make the experience exciting and engaging.

Avoid Using Bribery:

Resist the temptation of using dessert as a reward for trying new foods. This approach may inadvertently place dessert on a pedestal, making it more desirable than healthier options. Instead, introduce treats in moderation alongside regular meals to promote a balanced approach to eating.

Make Food Appealing:

Fun presentations can entice picky eaters to try new foods. Use cookie cutters to create appealing shapes, arrange food in smiley faces, or let your child get creative with food art. Fun utensils and special plates can also make mealtimes more exciting.

Time Mealtimes Wisely:

Avoid offering snacks too close to mealtimes, as it may reduce your child’s appetite. Additionally, don’t serve meals too late, as an overly-hungry child may become irritable and less willing to try new foods.

When to Seek Help:

If you’re concerned about your child’s picky eating habits or dietary intake, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician for guidance and professional advice.


Dealing with a picky eater can be challenging, but with patience, creativity, and a balanced approach, you can help your child develop healthy eating habits. Be their positive role model, involve them in meal preparation, and offer a variety of nutritious foods without resorting to bribes. Remember that persistence is key; it may take time for your child to accept new foods. Mealtimes should be enjoyable family experiences, free from pressure and confrontation. Should you have any concerns, always reach out to your pediatrician for support and professional advice. Together, you can nurture a happy and healthy eater!