More Picky Eater Tips

Winning over your picky eater is no new topic on this blog, but it’s something that many parents continue to struggle with day after day. So this is why I am super excited to share some new healthy eating tips with you straight from two experts in the field (and both sponsors of our blog)! Cai Dixon, co-creator of the Copy-Kids, and Kia Robertson, creator of the Today I Ate A Rainbow kit, have both created award-winning yet simple resources that get kids interested in—and eating!—their fruits and veggies. Both Cai and Kia are fellow moms who feel passionate about helping other parents overcome the typical struggles they face when trying to get their children to eat a varied diet.

Picky Eater Tips from Copy-Kids DVD and Today I Ate A Rainbow on 100DaysofRealFood.com

First Off, Set the Tone:

  1. Be Flexible
    What does flexibility look like? It will vary from household to household. Here is what flexibility looks like in my home:
    My 5-year-old took a bath first thing when she woke up today. I figured out a few years ago that coupling happy bath-time play with a meal was an excellent way to get her to eat more. First she started with a banana. Then she asked for a second banana. Then I set a divided plate on a low stool next to the tub. The plate contained red cabbage, cauliflower, celery & a cherry tomato – each in its own compartment, because she doesn’t like things to touch. And she ate them all. Yep, veggies for breakfast!
  2. Be Creative
    Sometimes a story prompt from you is all that is needed to get your child to eat. “Bunnies love carrots. There once was a bunny who ate 100 carrots in one meal. Could you eat 100 carrots?”
    Creativity could include arranging a story scene on a plate. A sun, a house, a happy-face designed from the pieces of the meal. You can employ child-friendly dishes & utensils. Candles on a table at mealtimes can make the meal more appealing & pleasant. Lighten things up… move away from familiar norms of “sit-up-straight, eat-your-food, stop-wiggling, no-talking, chew-with-your-mouth-closed.” I’m not suggesting that you abandon good manners. Merely that you make creative efforts to bring joy to the table with optimal nutrition consumption always as the prime goal.
  3. Go Easy on Yourself
    Give yourself a pat on the back because no matter where you are in this feeding journey you have been doing the best you can with what you know. This parenting gig doesn’t come with a manual – it’s a “learn as you go” job so go easy on yourself!
  4. Stop Comparing
    Try not to compare yourself to other parents and how they are feeding their kids. Each child is unique and there isn’t one best or right way that works for everyone. It can feel disheartening to think that other parents have got it all figured out and you’re still struggling no matter how hard you try. Just keep learning new recipes, techniques and ideas that you can implement in ways that best fit your family.
  5. Be Calm
    Before you feed your kids just give yourself a moment to take a deep breath and put a smile on your face. Even if you know the meal might be met with resistance, approach each mealtime as a fresh start. Have confidence that you are providing your kids with a good meal and how much of it they eat and enjoy is up to them. If they reject your new spinach dish it’s not a reflection of your parenting skills or how much they love you.
    Picky Eater Tips from Copy-Kids DVD and Today I Ate A Rainbow on 100DaysofRealFood.com

Try These Suggestions:

  1. Serving New Food
    Trying a new food can be very intimidating for a picky eater. I know it can be hard to understand if you’ve never been a picky eater…what’s the big deal about trying something new, right?! Well it is a very big deal for many different reasons. So when serving something new put the tiniest sample on their plate. When I say tiny I mean microscopic…as in bring a magnifying glass to the table! A teeny shred of lettuce, one grain of wild rice, half a blueberry…you get the picture. I know it sounds silly and actually that’s part of the strategy. Using humor and some fun is a great way to introduce something new. It will improve your chances at getting your picky eater to give it a try and that is half the battle when it comes to picky eating. I think Mary Poppins had the right idea when she said “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun! You find the fun and snap…the job’s a game!” Kids love having fun so use that to your advantage and have a laugh together over a kernel of corn!
  2. Texture Texture Texture
    Did I mention texture? Texture issues are one of the biggest holdups for picky eaters, finding out what textures they like will be very useful information for you. Try serving your picky eater fruits and veggies in different forms and textures. Maybe they like crunchy, or perhaps smooth, some may prefer bumpy (like broccoli). You can achieve different textures by changing how you prepare them – try serving produce steamed, grilled, raw, baked, frozen, juiced, roasted, etc.
  3. Keep Trying
    I know how disheartening and frustrating it can be to keep serving food over and over again only to have it rejected and even worse, tossed on the floor! But here’s the thing, studies have found that it can take at least 10 exposures to a new food before it is accepted and that number gets a lot higher when dealing with a picky eater. So don’t give up too soon…you’re in the business of training taste buds and that takes a lot of patience and repetition. You can print off a free Today I Tried chart to help you and your kids keep track of how many times they are trying a new food. Once again turning this into something fun can help you successfully stay on track and get your kids on board.
Picky Eater Tips from Copy-Kids DVD and Today I Ate A Rainbow on 100DaysofRealFood.com
  1. The contest is open to those with U.S. or Canadian shipping addresses only.
  2. You have THREE chances to enter the contest by leaving comments below:
    • 1st entry: Please leave a comment below sharing your picky eater tip (or frustration!)
    • 2nd entry: If you like Copy-Kids on Facebook you can leave another comment below. Just say “like Copy-Kids” on your entry/comment.
    • 3rd entry: If you like Today I Ate A Rainbow on Facebook you can leave another comment below. Just say “like Rainbow” on your entry/comment.Picky Eater Tips from Copy-Kids DVD and Today I Ate A Rainbow on 100DaysofRealFood.com
  3. The contest will end at midnight EST on Monday, February 11th.
  4. The winners will be selected at random and announced on the “100 Days of Real Food” Facebook page as well as emailed directly (so make sure your address is entered correctly in your comments below!). The winner will have 3 days to respond before they are disqualified, and a new winner is chosen.


Kia Robertson
is a mom, children’s book author and the creator of the award winning Today I Ate A Rainbow kit that gets kids ASKING to eat their fruits and veggies by turning healthy eating into a fun game! As a former picky eater, Kia is passionate about helping parents overcome the typical struggles they face trying to get their children to eat their fruits and vegetables. Learn more at: https://www.todayiatearainbow.com/

Cai Dixon is a mom and co-creator of Copy-Kids. Copy-Kids makes video content encouraging positive habits in young children by encouraging them to copy other kids. Their debut release is a DVD entitled Copy-Kids Eat Fruits and Vegetables. In it you’ll find children joyfully eating fruits and vegetables. Kids watching it want to join in. It’s that simple. And it’s effective. Find them at: http://copy-kids.com/

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

2,957 thoughts on “More Picky Eater Tips”

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  1. I appreciate all the work you do to help us with our kids. I was wondering, do you have any posts about older kids? I have an 8yr old girl and 14 & 16 year old boys. Trying to make the change to real food is such a struggle with them. They are fighting me at every turn!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Diane. Yes, as habits become more engrained as kids get older it can be even tougher to make changes but not impossible. I think what works best with older kids is educating them about how healthy food choices affect the way they feel and the way their bodies and brains function. I used the Jamie Oliver Ted Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go_QOzc79Uc with my boys and yours are likely old enough to understand the Robyn O’Brien talk as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWXrRftyOMY. The Food Day website also provides many many talking points: http://www.foodday.org/forms/shares/new?page_id=154. I hope that helps a bit. ~Amy

  2. I’m at about the end of my rope with my picky 3 year old DD. Yesterday I baked your banana bread (substituting pumpkin for banana). DD ate a tiny bit and announced she didn’t like it. This afternoon, she announced she didn’t like your fruit smoothie frozen in one of the little pops. I called it special strawberry ice cream to set the tone. I didn’t dare admit it had yogurt in it since she hasn’t been willing to eat yogurt for about a year, after eating it every morning before then.

    This is really driving me crazy. I keep presenting her with healthy things and she won’t even tough them. Although she is a very good fruit eater and I never have any problems getting her to eat fruit.

    I read all of the advice about picky kids and the assumption seems to be that they’ll get hungry enough and eat whatever it is you want them to eat but DD won’t eat. I can’t even bribe her by telling her she can’t have an apple until she eats her dinner. She won’t eat either.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Jenna. I know it can be frustrating with little ones. Outside of all the picky eater tips that you’ve read, I can tell you what worked for me: I just stopped offering unhealthy choices and eventually both of mine have come around. They no longer got to choose between ice cream, goldfish, a tube of pink yogurt, and a banana. They got to choose between whole wheat pretzels, apple, a homemade smoothie, or a banana. The key (eventually) was that they still get a choice. It took patience to get there and there were some real battles of will…but we got there. Hope that helps a little. And, one more tid bit: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/childrens-health/HQ01107/NSECTIONGROUP=2. ~Amy

  3. Your tips on how to make children interested in healthy foods are great! Especially the rainbow idea and also the “a bunny likes to eat carrots” idea. It is so important for children to eat healthy foods, even if it is not their favorite!

  4. I think the exciting part for e is finding out I like new things too! For example, golden beets. Organic of course. Love them! I only realized this after wanting to expose my son to new and yummy foods! Keep up the great work, its appreciated by us that you pass on your knowledge.

  5. My daughter is 1 1/2 and we have struggled some with picky eating. A couple of things that have been successful:
    – she will eat any fruit frozen. I freeze plums, pears, cuties oranges, grapes, etc diced in a single layer on wax paper for easy serving. This is especially a favorite when teething strikes.
    – pureed soups are a great way to sneak in veggies she supposedly doesn’t like. The other day I made a great pureed carrot soup and she gobbled it up! She normally spits carrots out. In a pureed soup I have been known to have combinations of yellow squash, spinach, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, cabbage, celery, onions, & carrots in one delicious combination that my whole family loves (and not a one of them will eat the brussels sprouts plain… :))
    – Distraction (looking at books, doing skype with the grandparents, etc) is helpful in getting her to take bites.
    – Sometimes I will get out a food that she really likes (homemade yogurt, cheese, olives) and make her take a bite of the not favorite food before each bite of the favorite food.

  6. My daughter is nearly 12 (wonderful eater)and my son nearly 9 (incredibly picky eater). One of my biggest parenting regrets is not introducing a wider variety of foods to my son when he was young. I appreciate these ideas and will try them in earnest.

  7. My son has been diagnosed with food neophobia…he is literally afraid of food. He eat 12 different foods. As you can imagine this is exhausting and quite frustrating on a day to day basis. I’ve tried everything. I’m always looking for new ways to encourage healthy eating!