Lead by Example
- Be a good role model. As a parent, you are your child's most important role model - especially when it comes to making healthy choices. They learn by watching you!
- Eat with your child. If you eat healthy and try new foods, your child will, too.
Stock Up on Healthy Choices
- Buy healthy fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- Keep healthy foods where they're easy for your kids to see.
Limit "Junk Food" in Your Home
Limit the number of foods high in fat and added sugar that you bring into your home.
Try New Foods
Forcing your child to eat certain foods will only cause stress for you and your child.
- Serve a few fruits and veggies at mealtimes. Offer choices, for example, "Would you like broccoli or cauliflower for dinner?"
- Let your kids try small portions of new foods that you enjoy. Give them a small taste at first and be patient with them. When they develop a taste for more types of foods, it's easier to plan family meals.
- Give options for snacks, suggest snap peas, sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, kiwi, or blueberries.
- Offer only one new food at a time. Serve something that you know your child likes along with the new food. Offering more new foods all at once could be too much for your child.
- Offer new foods many times. Sometimes, new foods take time. Kids don't always take to new foods right away. It may take several tries for a child to accept a new food.
- Serve the same foods for the whole family. Avoid being a "short-order cook," making a different meal for your child.
Make Healthy Food Fun to Eat
- Cut baked chicken, low-fat cheese, and veggies into bite-size pieces. Let kids "dip" these pieces into dunking sauces. Try hummus, low-fat ranch dressing, salsa, ketchup, or mustard.
- Cut food into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters.
- Give your kids the ingredients to "build" their own healthy salad, taco, or pizza. Name the food after your child, eg. "Susan's Specialty Salad".
Let Kids Help with Meals and Snacks
Have your kids prepare meals and snacks with you. Children are more likely to eat food that they help make.
Let them help:
- Make the shopping list
- Pick out food at the grocery store
- Wash produce
- Slice, mix, bake, or cook food (as age-appropriate)
USDA. (2018, March 1). Healthy Tips for Picky Eaters. Retrieved from www.choosemyplate.gov
NHLBI. (n.d.). We Can! Parent Tips: Picky Eaters. Retrieved from www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
We Can! Parent Tips: Picky Eaters. Retrieved July 25, 2019