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  • Writer's pictureCoach Patty, HealthSmart! Kids

3 (Feeding Coach) Top Tips to Overcome Picky Eating and Build a Better Eater

Updated: Jul 6

A little boy eating chicken nuggets from a plate

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Today I'm offering up some quick tips to help you take the 'icky' out of picky eating for your kids!

As an experienced mom and feeding coach with picky eaters, I know how tough it can be to get your picky eater on board! I want to offer up a bit of encouragement, hoping that you view this post as a 'reset', applying these basic, but important principles with your picky eater. Stay consistent with these Top 3 Tips, celebrate small victories, and you are bound to see some progress.

Let's get to it!

Tip #1 Structure Settings for Success to Overcome Picky Eating

A bit of extra preparation can go a long way! Doing a little menu planning and then making a list before you head to the grocery store are some great ways to stay on target with your eating goals for your family.

We can take it a step further with structuring to set both regular meal and snacktime routines for our families. Curbing the grazing that our picky eaters tend to do increases the chances that they will have better appetites when mealtime rolls around.

When it comes to snacks, only have available what you want your kids to choose from in the pantry and fridge. Helping kids to understand the difference between healthy snacks and more occasional 'sometimes treats' can really work to support your goals for building better eaters.

A father helping his child cut vegetables

Tip #2 Teach Kids About Healthy Eating

The more we teach our kids about healthy food for a healthy body, the more likely they are to get on board with changes in our healthy feeding routines for them.

You can use books, puzzles, apps, and other tools so that kids can see and learn about healthy foods in a variety of ways.

When kids see fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods 'all around them' like this, it helps with familiarity and they are more likely to begin accepting the presence (and hopefully soon the taste) of actual healthy foods in their space and on their plates.

Get the kids involved in shopping and cooking routines whenever you can.

You can start with just a few minutes at a time in the kitchen each week to have them lend a hand with getting the ingredients together, and/or making a recipe together.

They can use a kid-friendly knife to help you chop veggies and other foods as part of meal preparation. Check out this set of favorite kid chef knives. We still have our original set of these from over a decade's no wonder the product has nearly 5K reviews on Amazon!

Try planting vegetables in small pots (or outside during gardening season) and have the kids help care for the plants as they grow.

Keep it simple, yet keep it fun! Presentation is so important to kids. Don't underestimate the power of a smiley face on a pancake, even for older kids.

Pancakes with a smiley face made out of fruit and whipped cream

Teaching kids that food is FUN will help them to be more interested and likely more engaged in the process of using their creativity in the kitchen. This includes your picky eater.

Tip #3 Model Healthy Eating Habits

As parents, it's important for us to recognize our own attitudes about eating. We all have some foods that we really like, and other foods that we don't particularly care for.

This is totally acceptable, and as long as our kids see us enjoying a healthy variety of foods, we are setting a good example and laying the groundwork for healthy eating expectations in our homes.

When eating healthy foods, use your best acting skills such as "Wow, this broccoli tastes delicious!" or "This salad looks like a rainbow...I'm eating a rainbow!"

A mother and daughter eating treats with berries and smiling

Whatever you can do to let your kids see you get excited about healthy color foods helps them to witness YOUR healthy relationship with food. This can only help your child to overcome picky eating, improving the overall process of building your better eater.

picky eater book

Get my short, handy guidebook to help your picky eater! It's a quick, useful tool to help you understand the 'Why' behind your child's picky eating, with a plan for the 'How To' of introducing new foods and improving your child's overall relationship with food!

smiling girl with banana at school lunch time

All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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