Winning over a picky eater is no easy task, but generally it can be done! Convincing them that “real food” is good food may take time, but it is worth the time and effort. You may already know, but it can take time for your palette to adjust to new tastes and textures. It can get discouraging if you experience some failed attempts, trust me I know! Don’t let these failures cause you to give up. Keep trying and before you know it your efforts will pay off!
10 Ways to Impress a Picky Eater
1. Start by switching out the refined and processed ingredients in meals they love for more nutritious ones. Instead of buying pizza sauce, make your own.
2. Presentation is key, give a good first impression of the real food you want them to try.
3. Hiding veggies in food can be a double edge sword. If you tell them what is hiding they may not take another bite or they may decide they really do like the hidden veggie. They need to know the hidden ingredient isn’t so terrible, after all and you can’t hide veggies forever. You don’t want them going off to college thinking they have never eaten broccoli, but all along you have been hiding it in their food since they were three.
4. When shopping let them pick out their own fruits and vegetables. Visit your local farmer’s market and taste samples before making a purchase. Better yet, let them grow something in the backyard garden or a pot on the back patio or deck.
5. Get them involved in meal preparation. Many picker eaters find that they like all the individual ingredients in a recipe so they will often give something new a try. Participating in the preparation process can give them a sense of ownership and they want to taste their creation.
6. Make a strict “one-bite rule” at meal time. Studies suggest that it takes 10 to 15 exposures to a new or previously disliked flavor to change a preference.
7. Only put one new food on their plate at a time along with other real food that you know they already like.
8. Picky eaters may need some incentive. Talk to them about why it is important to eat nutritious food. Younger children don’t need the details about micro nutrients, but if you tell them they will be able to jump higher, run faster and ride their bike farther they just might give it a try. Older children can learn about the importance of specific nutrients for sustained energy.
9. Make it fun. Cut fruit into different shapes, oranges can be peeled and broken into wedges or sliced into circles with the rind still intact. Serve steamed veggies with dipping sauce like Teriyaki Sauce, and cut fruit with Fruit Dip.
10. If you want your family to try it you better try it too. They are watching you! If you won’t eat the green stuff, why should they? If they see you eating lots of color and trying new recipes they will get curious and ask for a taste, they will I promise. Persistence is the key, you can do it!