20 Tips on How to Get a Picky Eater to Eat Healthy

In my last PediaSure Complete post I shared my personal story and struggles about having a picky eater at home. I struggled with Kitana for over a year and up until today she still fusses about certain foods.

Picky eaters are very selective about their food. If my daughter could help it, she would eat chicken and rice every day of the week.

We all want our kids to eat healthy but the question for many moms is: How?

As a mom, it’s important to educate yourself. Research and visit seminars to learn about picky eating and the tricks to solve it.

Trust me, it can get frustrating if not dealt with in the correct manner. Serving your child a plate of veggies and praying they eat it won’t work every day.

It is a challenge to get a picky eater to eat but I believe things can improve if you keep trying different tricks.

20 Tips on How to Get a Picky Eater to Eat Healthy

  1. Take your child to the store and let them choose a bowl, plate and cup. I know this may sound silly but it encourages them to want to eat in their “favourite” character plate.
  2. Manage mealtimes by establishing set meal and snack times. A schedule can do wonders at home, I learnt this the hard way.
  3. Help your child to choose healthy foods by making the right foods available to them – Get your child involved in the shopping and let them choose a fruit or veggies from their favourite colour.
  4. Consistently offer new healthy foods but introduce one new food at a time instead of serving a completely new meal. This is a very important tip because offering a completely new meal can scare your child.
  5. Encourage self-respect and self-acceptance and never criticize your child’s body type.
  6. Make meal time a fun learning adventure – Use this time to talk about the colour and shapes of the food and play a little game like: Let’s see who can eat all the green mickey mouse shaped fruits first.20 Tips on How to Get a Picky Eater to Eat Healthy
  7. Use cookie cutters for sandwiches – Also another way to teach them about shapes.
  8. Look for fun, creative ways to educate your child about the benefits of healthy eating and an active lifestyle. I love using Kitana’s favourite “characters” to do this. At the moment she loves Dora, so I encourage her to watch the series and after she sees Dora eating a certain fruit, she asks me because she ends up being curious. Books are also another great way to teach them about eating healthy.
  9. Make mealtime family time by letting all family members sit together and eat the same meals. It is important to try and set an example – Your child might try it because “Daddy” is eating it.
  10. Avoid television and other distractions that may lead to a disinterest in food. TV is one of the biggest distractions for my child – she would forget about eating because something interesting is on.
  11. Try the muffin/ice-cube tray lunches.
    Source: www.thelittleumbrella.com
    Source: www.thelittleumbrella.com
  12. Serve small portion sizes when introducing new foods and gradually move on to bigger portions.
  13. Resist the urge to give your child sweets and fried foods to encourage them to eat.
  14. Learn to understand your child’s hunger signals – Forcing your child to eat when he/she isn’t hungry isn’t going to solve the problem and if they say they are full – don’t push them to eat more. Every child has a different appetite.
  15. Make pictures with food.20 Tips on How to Get a Picky Eater to Eat Healthy
  16. Give foods silly names.
  17. Plant a little veggies/fruit garden together.
  18. Always praise your child after a meal.
  19. Show your muscles – This always works with my child. 😉
  20. Let your child help you prepare in the kitchen.

20 Tips on How to Get a Picky Eater to Eat Healthy

By following these steps and setting a good example when it comes to their own eating habits, parents can ensure that children enjoy a stress-free relationship with food over the long-term! Also note that just because they don’t like something today does not mean that we should not try it again. Perhaps rather try serving it in a different way.

For more information, visit PediaSure/Picky eating website – www.pickyeating.co.za and get chatting on their Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/PediaSureSA.

This post is sponsored by PediaSure®Complete. The comments on this page do not constitute medical advice. Your healthcare professional is best placed to evaluate your child’s growth and development. Should you have any concerns or questions, please seek advice from your healthcare professional. For product-related questions, contact the Abbott Nutrition Support Line on 0861 22 68 87.

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Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

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  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)
    2015-11-19 / 12:42

    You have some really helpful advice here. I have a picky eater and for me, the secret was disguising the veggies in something else (like pasta sauce).

  2. lameez
    2015-11-19 / 16:54

    love this very Helpfull tips!

  3. 2015-11-19 / 19:41

    I’ve used PediaSure since I had my first baby. It’s a great way to increase nutrition, even when you kids aren’t picky eaters.

  4. 2015-11-19 / 21:15

    These are great tips! My son is not all that picky and I think it has to do a lot with some of these tips that you mentioned above.

  5. Tonya C
    2015-11-19 / 23:29

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these ideas. I too was going to pick up some PediaSure for my kids when they started getting picky. LOVE the palm tree food art.

  6. 2015-11-20 / 05:10

    I have a 11 year old that is very picky but it’s due to sensory disorders. I will try some of the tips to see if they help.

  7. 2015-11-20 / 06:54

    These are all great tips. I have one picky eater out of three. My little ones love to eat healthy but my oldest would eat junk all day if she could!

  8. 2015-11-20 / 19:09

    Looooove your tips! My son is such a picky eater! I can’t wait to use some of your tips!

  9. 2015-11-20 / 21:35

    I can’t lie, I’ve always been a picky eater ever since I was little lol! Great tips and ideas!!
    xo Adriana – Daily Dose of Design

  10. 2015-11-23 / 00:58

    Growing up I was the picky eater, my mother needed these tips for me. lol I’m so thankful that my children don’t act like me. My daughter is hit or miss with her veggies.

  11. Maggie Branch
    2015-11-24 / 04:00

    I have always had a wonderful experience with all things Abbott Nutrition, I am glad you’ve had a good experience also. These are some great tips for dealing with the picky eater in your life.

  12. 2015-11-29 / 05:31

    All of these are very wonderful tips! Sadly we have tried almost all of them, I am convinced that my son is more than just a picky eater. He will actually not eat for multiple meals in a row if we don’t have one of the five things that he’ll eat willingly (sometimes). When we try to get him to try something new he cries, shakes, coughs and gags. When he was little he ate whatever we had up until about 18 months old and then he went to just water and milk and no food, then a very bland diet and we’ve come to eating cheese, carrots and peanut butter, the rest is still pretty bland. Anything with flavor/seasoning is spicy to him because his palette is not used to the salt and flavor. Frustrating and heart breaking, but some how he isn’t deficient in any vitamins! Even when he was only eating a small handful of things and he’s always been slim, it has taken 4 years for him to gain a whole 40lbs, but he never dropped in weight so it wasn’t a real concern. <3 this boy!

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