Banish Pickiness: How to Raise Adventurous Eaters

“I’m not eating that.” It’s a familiar scene to any parent. Dinner is served, and your child’s expression changes. Picky children are as numerous as drive-thru windows, but is finicky eating an unavoidable part of childhood? It isn’t. And as a parent, there are some things you can do to banish pickiness and coax your child to try new things, and eventually, to enjoy a more varied diet. Here are a few options:

Provide opportunities to try new things

Busy families can easily fall into food ruts. Having a meal rotation is smart household management, but it’s important not to eat the same things all the time. After all, children can’t learn to enjoy new foods if they never get to try them. Commit to trying something new once a week. That could be a new fruit or vegetable, or a new side dish recipe. 

Offer options

If you’re trying to get your kids to eat more vegetables, give them choices. By providing options, you reverse the narrative: Rather than being forced to eat the only vegetable on the table by Mom, the child gets to choose: broccoli or carrots? This is a surprisingly effective way to reduce dinner-time stalemates. 

Respect their taste buds

Some kids might turn up their noses at anything that grows from the ground. And in those cases, it’s your job to show them that all vegetables are not the same. A child who despises kale might love carrots or beets. 

But once you’ve identified something that your child truly can’t stand, don’t push it. Why force zucchini when there are so many other delicious and nutritious vegetables out there? You likely have a few foods that you just don’t like, and your child is no different.

Involve your child in meal prep

Children love to help cook. Yes, it’s messier than doing it yourself, and it takes longer. But kids are funny that way—if they help cook something, they’re much more likely to eat it. 

Involve a young child in tasks like adding ingredients and mixing. Older children can chop vegetables and prepare a salad. If you’re concerned about knife safety, look for a kid-friendly serrated plastic knife. They actually chop very well, while keeping little fingers safe from harm.

Teaching your children to be less picky isn’t a quick process. It requires patience and consistency, but our tips can help ease the journey to banish pickiness. At the end of the road, you’ll find your reward: complaint-free mealtimes.

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