Is there a picky eater in your household? Has it been frustrating? If so, use the following tips to help prevent mealtime battles, and to ensure there is still plenty of variety and nutrients in their meals.

Younger children tend to only eat when they are hungry. Therefore, do not force them or bribe them to eat, as this could lead to another struggle.

Change your negative phrases into positive ones! Instead of saying “No dessert until you eat your vegetables”, say something like “We can try these vegetables again another time” or “Next time would you like to try them raw instead of cooked?” Using dessert as a reward may also increase your child’s desire for sweets and other similar food items that are not considered healthy.

Make mealtime fun! Serve vegetables and fruit with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner.

At the grocery store, ask your child to help select food items, including fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. Don’t buy anything that you don’t want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse the fruit and vegetables, and prepare the meal.

Be sneaky! Add vegetables to spaghetti sauce. Top cereal with fruit.

Try not to serve snacks at least one hour before a meal so children will be hungry at mealtime, or more motivated to eat.

Do not prepare separate meals for children, as this may encourage picky eating.

The Food Cop is owned by Corinne Kantor, DTR, a Registered Dietetic Technician and award-winning writer. She teaches nutrition classes, provides personal nutrition counseling, and offers other nutrition-related services as well. Visit The Food Cop’s web site at for more information.
Review by LifeStages:

This is a great site with very helpful information regarding nutrition for your whole family. Corrine regularly offers classes for parents and their children who want to learn more about healthy eating. For more information visit her website or contact

Corrine Kantor
22431 Antonio Parkway
B-106 Suite 411
Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca. 92688
(949) 888-1793