Dinner Time Tips and Tricks for Picky Eaters – Tips From Dr. Rai

Category: Blog

Anyone with young kids knows the struggles of sometimes dealing with “picky eaters.”  We are all just trying to get some nutrition into our young ones, but often dealing with kids who don’t want to touch that, or eat this is frustrating to say the least.

We have been there too. However, along the way have picked up some tricks that have transformed even our littlest picky eater into one that can enjoy a varied diet and eat meals we have prepared. We want to share these tips with you…trust me it will get better!

Tip #1 – Get Your Kids Involved

Yes it takes way more time and yes it makes a mess, but having your kids see and touch what they are about to eat teaches them so much. A lot of the time with my youngest ‘helps’ me while making dinner she samples all the raw vegetables before they are cooked. And the likelihood of her trying a new sauce or new dish increases dramatically if she can taste and see what was in there previously.

Tip #2 – Implement Some Dinner Tactics

Try to include 2-3 vegetables. Then try to encourage the kids to try all of them, but if they only want to eat one that is fine. Kids want to be in control, this scenario they are the boss but they are still eating a vegetable.

When trying new things I always include one item I know they will eat so at least they won’t starve that meal. And that item is usually something nutritious.

Include the ‘no thank you bite’ tactic. They don’t have to eat all of it but encourage them to try one bite. Just one, then they can say no thank you.

Make the same meal for the whole family, but strategically. For example, the adults and our son love Greek and Caesar salad, but our daughter thinks she is being poisoned with all that flavour.  So before I put the dressing on I portion a bowl for her plain. She still is involved and tries the salad but in her own way.

Tip #3 – Dessert

We typically always include something for dessert, however, it is never used as a reward or bribery to finish a meal. Dessert can be a special sugary treat or something simple, such as fruit. Sometimes it’s just their vitamin gummies. There isn’t a giant expectation for dessert but they always know that there is something extra after a meal.

Tip #4 – Lunch Tip That Can Translate To Dinner

What kids don’t kids don’t love snacking? Bento boxes are a great way for picky eaters to experience a variety of food and be able to make their own choices. Having a little bit of everything can give them the motivation to try something new. If doing snacks right it can make a whole meal.

I try to include a fruit, vegetable, protein, and a carb of some sort in each lunch for my kids.

Tip #5 – Normalizing Food

We try to normalize healthy eating habits in our family, focusing on the long-term effects of eating. That means we don’t really force them to eat all of something if they really don’t love it. Hopefully, there is enough of another choice on their plates that they did eat and enjoy.

Tip #6 – Learn Picky versus Straight-up Hate it

Are your kids just being difficult or do they actually hate something? I have learned with my ‘picky’ eater she isn’t trying to make me lose my mind or waste all these delicious meals I have taken so long to make for her. She actually really really doesn’t like it! Take the time to learn your kids cues and signals. Is your child having a bad day or is this something that really isn’t sitting with them? I think for the most part they are not trying to manipulate us….well at least i hope not.

Tip #7 – Keep Trying

They say in young children, it may take 10 or more attempts over several months to introduce a food. So keep trying and keep putting it on their plate every opportunity you get. You never know when the day may come that they might actually eat all their broccoli.

We hope these help, we know it’s helped us immensely.

For more tips and tricks on healthy eating and living, please stay tuned to our blog here.