I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.
– Dr. Seuss
7 Tips To Help a Picky Eater
Confession time…Salvage Sister was a picky eater!
The girl who loves Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, kumquats, brie, asparagus, ETC. NOW, didn’t necessarily like it all early on in life.
- American cheese was a favorite
- No cheddar cheese….too strong!
- Ground beef only!
- Plain food, please!
And the thought of going to someone’s house brought about anxiety……
“What will we have?”
Do you know any picky eaters?
Is it a struggle to get them to eat?
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Here are some tips from this former picky eater:
- Get them in the kitchen. You hear this a lot because it puts the picky eater in control. I learned to try lots of things via cooking. I found out sometimes I just didn’t like badly prepared food like canned asparagus vs grilled. (America’s Test Kitchen is a great resource for consistent and good recipes.
- Take the fight out of the dining room. Fix a little something different right before dinner and set it out for all, not just the picky eater, to come by and try if they want. In this situation, everyone is not watching and they know dinner will be coming up so this isn’t their main meal. At the same time, they are hungry and won’t want to be left out of this testing.
- Shopping! Play a game where they can look for one new item to try in a certain section (cereal, produce, meat). Shopping also allows for education….reading of ingredients, nutrition, price, etc. You can also play another game, look for the most similar item. If they like ham, have them pick out the closest item to that to try.
- When going to restaurants, go somewhere that’s a stretch for them. If they only want hamburgers, try a sandwich shop. They will be forced to try something new on their own terms. If the restaurant staff is good, they might have a recommendation.
- Have them be part of planning the menu. Have them scour a cookbook for something they would like to. Check out our intro to menu planning here.
- TRY BARS- No, not drinking bars. Setup breakfast bars, taco bars, baked potato bars. Everyone chooses what they want and maybe the picky eater will try something new.
- Don’t avoid dinners at someone’s home. It may give the picky eater some anxiety, but they will get through it. Either they will learn to overcome a fear, which is never a bad thing, or they will stand their ground…. but in a socially acceptable way. When a person is in the comforts of home, they won’t push themselves as they will elsewhere.
Sometimes either the picky eater wins all the time or it’s a battle of wills each night. If you tend to go one way, try the other way once in a while.
Finally, sneaking in certain foods may not help your cause. It can backfire in trust and may not bring the same empowering feeling of overcoming the fear on their own terms.
Do you have any tips for helping picky eaters?
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