Jo J. of Victoria, Texas said that her son was a very picky
eater between the ages of four and six and refused to eat many
of the dishes she made, until she discovered the art of renaming
“One evening I discovered that he would eat ANYTHING he thought
might be on the diet of the characters of his favorite TV show
at the time, ‘The Young Riders.’ Oh, yeah,” Jo says, “The Kid's
Beans, Teaspoon's Favorite Casserole, Young Riders' Skillet, and
many others became sudden favorites of my picky eater son. To
this day, he still enjoys dishes that were once refused simply
because of inventive renaming!”
While most adults and some children look forward to new food
experiences, understand and accept that your picky eater will
look forward to eating the same foods over and over again. This
often gives them a sense of comfort and security, which is
generally not hazardous to their health unless it is sugar or
Studies have shown that repeated exposure to foods greatly
increases the likelihood even a picky eater child will eat it.
Some experts feelthat new food has to be offered anywhere from 8
to 18 times before it is acceptable. You can prepare the food
in different ways, but offer it on a consistent basis,
especially when your picky eater child will be the hungriest.
Offering food as part of a nutrition activity or snack may make
it more interesting. Also seeing other children sample foods
may encourage a picky eater to become more adventurous.
If you know in advance that one or more of the food choices will
be met with howls of disgust, have something else available that
your picky eater will find pleasing to his or her palate.
Encourage your picky child to taste one of the “repulsive” foods
before chowing down on one of the more desirable ones, but do
not be offended if he or she refuses.
Sherry P. from Miami, Oklahoma is a daycare provider and has
been working with children for almost 40 years. One of the ways
she encourages her young charges to eat more vegetables is to
let each child take turns at picking one each day. “Of course I
limit the choices to two or three – say corn, peas, or green
beans,” she advises. “That way they feel like they have some
control over what they eat. I also give them some choices that
they can say ‘no’ to such as pickles or salads.
Being able to have a say in what they eat seems to help.” Sherry
also adds more fruit to their diet by adding it to Jell-O, which
they really seem to like. “Another thing that I do is to use
meal times as a time to talk with each other. I ask the kids
about things that are going on in their lives and they do not
even notice what they are eating,” she says.
Often, parents worry that if they do not prepare the specific
foods that their picky eater children like to eat, they will
wither away. However, Dr. Karen Sadler, a pediatrician in
Boston, MA, and panel expert at the Baby Zone
(www.babyzone.com), says that hunger is a powerful drive and
young children will not starve themselves to the point of
danger. To help promote a lifetime of better eating habits, she
makes the following recommendations:
Offer your picky eater child a few nutritious food choices at
the dinner table. What is not eaten in 20 minutes can be
wrapped up and offered as a later snack. Give your child the
power to choose, but from among healthy choices, berries or
orange wedges, for example.
For more great picky eater advice, tips and even some great
tasting, easy to prepare picky eater recipes... visit