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Tips and Tricks to Reduce Picky Eating

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

Is your child a picky eater? Are they becoming more of a picky eater as they get older?

First off, your child's picky eating may be medically based. If you think this may be the case, please schedule an appointment with a speech language pathologist that specializes in feeding and swallowing.

These are some examples of medically based reason for your child being a picky eater:

  1. A child may have oral aversion from being on a breathing tube in the NICU.

  2. A child may have a hard time chewing certain textures so they avoid them.

  3. A child may have had a traumatic experience with a certain food so they associate that negative experience with a certain food and other foods like it.

I am going to share 10 tips and tricks to help your picky eater.

  1. Make sure that they are in an optimal position for eating. They need to be sitting upright with their head in midline and support for their feet and back. It's important for a kiddo to have adequate trunk and core support to provide support for their head and jaw.

  2. Avoid saying things like "oh he won't eat that" when someone offers your child a food. I guarantee that if you say it, then it will be true.

  3. Continue to offer foods that they do not like. Why? If they aren't offered the food, they can't try it. It can take a child 20+ exposures to a food before they will try it.

  4. Give them small portions of non-preferred foods so they don't get overwhelmed by the visual of large amounts of food.

  5. Make mealtime a fun and social experience. Do not stress about what they did and didn't eat. If you are hounding them the whole meal to "eat your peas" then the meal won't be a positive experience.

  6. Talk about the food on their plate. Talk about the smells, colors, how it feels when you touch it with your hand, what is might taste like etc.

  7. Do not ask them "do you want _____ for dinner?" Instead ask "would you like _____ or ______?" This way they feel like they still have a choice but you as the parent control what they eat.

  8. Give them a small tasting spoon along with their normal spoon. They may be more inclined to try a new food if they only have to take a small bite.

  9. Do not use food as a reward. If you tell them "you can have ice cream if you eat your carrots" then they will expect ice cream whenever they eat carrots. We want them to be intrinsically motivated to eat foods.

  10. A schedule is key to kicking picky eating in the face! Kiddos need to learn hunger cues and if they are snacking all day, they won't know what it feels like to be hungry or full.

If you want to know more about how to combat picky eating, go to our contact form and send us a message!

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