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5 Tips for Handling a Picky Eater

Handling a Picky Eater

From the pages of the Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia: Chapter 5, Family Nutrition

If you have a picky eater at home (and it might not even be a child—adults can be picky too!) mealtime can turn into a battleground. It makes the primary home cook in the household reluctant to try anything new, and that can lead to meal monotony for the rest of the family. So how can you work with a fussy palate while still keeping the joy of food at the forefront for everyone else?

  • Schedule meals and snacks so that when mealtime rolls around, your kids are hungry.
  • Offer a wide variety of foods to your child, but without pressuring them to eat all the food, or even to take a bite. Offer foods more than once, too. It can take 15 to 20 exposures to a taste for a child to build their taste buds for a flavour.
  • Presentation counts. A lot of kids don’t like different foods touching each other, so you can put them separately on a plate. Or change how the food is served. With zucchini, for example, you can offer it raw, cooked, grated, cut into sticks or baked into breads or muffins. Tell them the veggie is there, though. Hiding veggies isn’t the best way to get kids used to integrating them into their diets.
  • Involve your kids as much as possible to broaden their tastes. At the grocery store, have your child pick out a new fruit or vegetable each week, and invite them into the kitchen to help prepare meals.
  • Relax and leave the focus on food behind. Make meals a positive experience, a time to connect, discuss the day and not worry so much about the food.

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Introduce nourishing meals at the family table at six months of age to help develop healthy eating habits for life. Visit to learn more.

Click HERE to get your FREE copy of the Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia by Parents Canada, courtesy of This chapter has been made possible with the help and contribution of Canada Beef.

Read more from the Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia.

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Chapter 1: Prenatal 101

Chapter 2: Breastfeeding and the First Three Months

Chapter 3: Starting Solids and the Toddler Years

Chapter 4: An Age-by-Age Guide to Sleep

Chapter 5: Family Nutrition

Chapter 6: Kids and Mental Health

Chapter 7: When Your Child is Sick

Chapter 8: Safety and First Aid

Chapter 9: Milestones, Checklists and Charts

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