5 Pro Tips for Picky Eaters

by Natalee Gent, Registered Dietitian specializing in infant/toddler feeding.

When it comes to picky eating, meal times can be dreadful and add extra stress for the entire family. Picky eating can look different for each child. It may look like only accepting certain types of food, refusing to try any new foods, eliminating food groups entirely or even being brand specific. Some degree of picky eating is normal throughout toddlerhood. However, when a child is limited to < 25 foods, some intervention may be necessary. 

 Below, you'll find FIVE practical tips you can implement today to help combat your picky eater. Give these tips a try and make your meals more enjoyable.

1. Remove the Pressure

No more bribery or “just take one more bite”. Your child is responsible for how much they eat or even whether they eat. Removing all pressure from the table will help create more of a positive eating environment.

2. Closed Kitchen Policy

Having a schedule is a MUST. Try implementing a closed kitchen policy which is exactly as it sounds - the kitchen is closed between meals & snacks. This eliminates grazing throughout the day which will help your child be more hungry at meals.

3. Parent/ Caregiver Sets the Menu

The parent/caregiver is in charge of setting the menu. It is your responsibility to decide WHAT, WHEN and WHERE the meals take place. Eliminate short-order cooking.

4. Make Sweets Less Exciting

Food is food and although some is more nutritious for us, I believe there is room for all foods. Try serving dessert WITH the meal instead of after. Let your child be intuitive with their eating vs. making them finish their meal before dessert.

5. Keep Serving Non-Preferred Foods

Exposure is key. Although you know your child will probably not eat it, it is important to keep exposing it. If you never serve it, they will never eat it. Always serve a new food with a safe food. Try switching up the shape, how it is prepared, seasoning, utensils to use, etc.

Need more guidance?

As a registered dietitian nutrition coach, I will work with you to crate an individualized plan that is suitable for your family. I’ll provide tips, tricks and education on the best way to help navigate and overcome picky eating. Let’s make meals more enjoyable for the entire family!

Meet the Expert

Hi, I'm Natalee.

A mom of two and Registered Dietitian specializing in baby-led weaning and picky eating. I started The Realistic RD to help empower parents feeding their littles with realistic nutrition advice. In my free time, you can find me outside playing with my kids, trying a new recipe (I love to bake) or enjoying a nice long walk. I'm a mom so I get it. I do my best to get a balanced meal on the table. But let's be honest, some nights it may be frozen pizza and that’s okay too. You can learn more about my services on my website & follow along on Instagram or Facebook.

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