Handling a “Choosy” Eater

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What would you do?

  • Grace won’t eat anything green – she even refuses a whole meal if one green pea appears on her plate.
  • Gideon is interested in everything at the table BUT eating.
  • Faith gets upset when one food on her plate touches another.
  • Laken won’t eat anything but strawberries and cucumbers. Two days ago she’d only eat peanut better sandwiches.

Ten Effective Ways to Handle a Child Who is a “Choosy” Eater

  • Treat food jags in a calm way since food jags don’t last long.
  • Consider what a child eats over several days, not just at each meal. Most kids will eat more food variety than a parent thinks.
  • Trust your child’s appetite rather than force a child to eat everything on the plate. Forcing a child to eat more encourages overeating.
  • Set a reasonable time limit for the start and end of a meal, then remove the plate quietly. What’s reasonable depends on the child.
  • Stay positive and avoid criticizing or calling any child a “picky eater”. Children believe what you say!
  • Serve food plain, and respect the “no foods touching” rule if that’s important to your child. This will pass.
  • Avoid being a short-order cook by offering the same food for the whole family. Plan at least one food everyone will eat.
  • Substitute a similar food – if a child doesn’t like a certain food, maybe sweet potatoes, offer squash instead.
  • Provide just two or three choices, not a huge array of food. Then let your child decide.
  • Focus on your child’s positive eating behavior, not on the food.