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Picky Eaters:  How to Get my Child to Eat

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

By Ms. Suzanne Currey

Meal times should be a time to get together and share the joy of life. It should not become a stressful “tug-of-war” with your child. Healthy eating habits can not be established by force. Encouragement is the key to engage cooperation from your child. Here are some things we can do and remember to make sure our children are healthy and happy:

  1. We as parents are in control of what food is brought into the home. It is a good idea to start introducing them to a variety of dishes while they are still young.

  2. Is your child healthy? Talk to your pediatrician and let them know about your concerns. Your child knows their own body and may have unknown food allergies. If your child is allergic to a particular food, they can usually get the same nutrients from an alternative source, whether food or supplement.

  3. Pick your battles. Avoid forcing your child to eat what they do not like. If your child is not eating a well balanced diet, talk to your pediatrician about foods that can be substituted to gain similar nutritional value. You can also say, “Your taste buds are growing up, take a little bite and if you don’t like it you can spit it out in your napkin (show them how to do this appropriately).” Your child will be more likely to take a bite if they feel they have the option of not swallowing it.

  4. Limit snack foods before meals.

  5. Offer smaller portions. If they are having trouble finishing their meal, it could simply be because of meal size.

  6. Have your child help prepare the foods you wish them to try. They are more likely to give the food item a chance.

  7. Your child will not starve themselves. It is human nature to eat when we are hungry.

And finally, remember that as the children grow, their tastes and appetites will change and they will eventually try new things.

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