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5 Genius Ideas to Get Picky Eaters to Try New Foods

posted: 04/01/16
by: Amanda Mushro
picture of picky eater
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There are lots of battles I'm willing to take on as a mom. You cannot blow your nose in my shirt and it's not acceptable to wear a bathing suit to preschool. But a fight at every single meal to get my kids to try new foods was a battle I was losing. As moms, we want our kids to grow up making healthy food choices on their own, and if doesn't drive us bananas trying to help them with this goal, well that's a bonus. So here's how I'm getting creative with my picky eaters.

1. "Try It Tuesday" and "New Food Friday." Two days a week, try introducing something new or take an old favorite, like mac and cheese, and prepare it a different way. We made a rule that everyone, including the adults, have to take a least three bites. A lot of times, it's just a veggie prepared a different way so it's a realistic change we can make in our house.

2. Serve it "Family Style." Instead of plating their food and bringing it over to the table, try serving a few meals family style. Put everything in large dishes and kids friendly serving spoons, and let your kids make their own plates. It's also good for them to see what you are putting on your plate. Around here, I'm seeing my kids scooping and eating more because they like the independence of choosing how much goes on their plate, within reason, of course. But they are eating more fruits and veggies at dinner. Hooray!

3. Start with "Small Scoops." Imagine being a kid and your mom is making you try new food and there is a gigantic mountain of green stuff that looks and smells sketchy. But if it's only two or three green things, well that's not so bad. Rather than dumping a huge pile of broccoli on my son's plate, I give him one or two small pieces to start. Once he eats his "small scoop," I high five myself and try another one or two pieces.

4. Involve Them in Meal Planning. Invite your kids to do the meal planning for the week with you. Let them mix and match the fruits and veggies with each day of the week with no repeats. Both of my kids liked taking charge of a day and I found them more willing to try the foods they were picking. It's also a great way to get them into the kitchen with you to help make a few things the whole family will be eating.

5. Hide The Good Stuff. You think that's just pizza right? [Insert evil laugh.] I added pureed spinach! And your fluffy pancakes actually have butternut squash in them. Sometimes I have to be creative and get a little sneaky with getting more veggies in their food. This does take a lot more planning on my part, but I feel better knowing there is zucchini in their blueberry muffins and since they taste pretty yummy, I can give myself an extra pat on the back.