You would think as the kids get older that they would be more willing to expand their culinary horizons. Not so much here at our house. Two of the kids are still as picky as they were when they were toddlers. Lila will try new things, but rarely likes them enough to keep eating them.
The kids will all eat fruit without much fight. But the veggies? They’ll eat corn and green beans without too much complaining, but anything else is a battle. I have no problem being sneaky about giving them food – heck, I’ve told you before that I use deceptive methods to get my picky eaters to eat.
I recently was looking back through old posts and realized that in the last two years I’ve written about my picky eaters driving me nuts twice. In 2012, I wrote about it at Chiquita Moms, and in 2013 I wrote about why I hate dinnertime. So I guess it’s time for my annual picky eaters post. I want to share some tips for picky eaters. These tips have helped, though they haven’t completely alleviated the issue.
Tips For Picky Eaters: How To Get Them To Eat
Let Them Dip It
My kids aren’t really fans of cooked vegetables, but they will eat carrots, celery, cucumbers, and tomatoes with dip. There are so many healthy dip recipes out there – make sure you try several different ones – or make up your own creations.
The No Thank You Bite and Roll The Dice
This one really works. Many times, my kids will look at something without even tasting it and insist that they don’t like it. We have implemented the “no thank you” bite and they have to take at least one bite before they can say they don’t like it. I’m always surprised by how often they end up liking things this way!
Another option is to let them roll a die, or I guess they could roll two dice but doubt they would want to, and they have to eat however many bites of whatever number they land on. This one is fun for them occasionally, though they still prefer the no thank you bite.
Let Them Shop For Veggies & Help Prepare Them
Someone suggested this to me when Ethan was small, and it works! I let the kids each pick one veggie that they then help me wash and prepare for dinner. Once they have ownership in the process, they seem more likely to eat it. I’ve to them to try asparagus, artichoke, eggplant, and squash this way.
Make It Fun
Serving foods on a stick is a very common tip to get picky eaters to eat. Pick-Ease is the safe alternative to traditional toothpicks and many kids love using it.
Food Face Plates are so cute and the kids love them! You can choose from a “Mr.” plate or a “Ms.” plate. These plates allows your kids to “dress up” the bald Mr. or Ms., which is not only fun, but also allows them to use their imaginations and gets their creative juices flowing! Mashed potato pearls, sunny-side sunglasses, broccoli bouffant, or bean earrings? The possibilities are endless!
Have Breakfast For Dinner, or Vice Versa
There’s nothing better than breakfast for dinner, and I’ve even served Cheez-Its Chicken for breakfast. As long as they are eating something other than nuggets and hot dogs, I’m happy.
Bribe And Deceive Them
I’m absolutely sure parenting experts would freak out at this one, but sometimes the easiest way to get kids to do something you want or need them to do is to feed their “what’s in it for me?” mentality.
If they refuse to eat their veggies still, you have to hide them. Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbooks makes it easy to do it. Fellow Chiquita Mom Vanessa also shared 6 tips for feeding picky eaters that is worth checking out!
If they don’t eat veggies, than they don’t get dessert. Period.
I want my kids to love food as much as I do, but I also want them to eat more healthy than I did growing up. Part of making it easy for them to eat better is to make it easy on yourself – these tips for picky eaters that I’ve shared with you don’t take a lot of time or effort to do, and the payoff is huge! See? It’s easy to have it all!