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"How Can Parents Successfully Navigate the Picky Eater Dilemma at mealtimes? Here Are 10 Top Tips!"

"Eurgh! I don't want that" echo's out from the dining room table, your head falls heavy in your hands and you begin to doubt not only your parenting choices but you ability as a human. We've all been there, sometimes meal times can just get in the sea!

As parents, we all want the best for our children, especially when it comes to their nutrition. However, dealing with a picky eater can be one of the most frustrating challenges we face in parenthood. From mealtime battles to worries about nutritional deficiencies, the struggle is real. But fear not! With a little patience, creativity, and perseverance, you can help your picky eater develop a healthier relationship with food. In this blog post, we'll explore ten top tips to encourage food intake and turn mealtime woes into wins.

1. Create a Positive Mealtime Environment:

family enjoying a positive mealtime

Make mealtime a pleasant and stress-free experience by setting a calm and inviting atmosphere. Switch of the TV and remove unwanted distractions and replace them with calming distractions, focus on enjoying each other's company instead. Have conversations about your day, what you are going to do at school tomorrow, things to look forward to at the weekend. don't whatever you do bribe or pressure your child to eat. This will cause tantrums galore from them and you retreating to the kitchen for a glass of wine!

nutritious foods

2. Lead by Example:

Children are more likely to try new foods if they see their parents enjoying them. Be a role model by eating a variety of healthy foods yourself and demonstrating adventurous eating habits. I'm not saying create a home bush tucker trial, just don't eat the same foods all the time and be open and honest if you like or dislike something. This then fosters a healthy communication about food!

weekly meal planner

3. Offer a Variety of Options and meal plan:

Introduce a wide range of foods to your child's diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. Experiment with different textures, Flavours, and cooking methods to keep things interesting. Meal plan with your child giving them an input on what goes on the table!

Get creative with food

4. Get Creative with Presentation:

Transform ordinary meals into fun and visually appealing creations by arranging food in playful shapes, colours, or patterns. Use cookie cutters, food picks, or edible garnishes to add excitement to the plate.

5. Involve Your Child in Meal Preparation:

child and dad meal preperation

Encourage your child to take an active role in planning, shopping for, and preparing meals. Let them choose ingredients, assist with cooking tasks, and explore new recipes together go to the bookstore and choose a cookery book together. There are some amazing child friendly cooking books out there!

Ella's Kitchen do some amazing ones!

child friendly cookbook

6. Offer Small Portions and Praise Efforts:

food sectional food storage

Serve small portions of new or disliked foods alongside familiar favourites and praise your child for trying them, even if they take just a small bite. Positive reinforcement can help build confidence and encourage continued exploration.

At dinner times we generally always, when it fits have this divided serving dish that we pack with different salad or veg, Mason then chooses 2 or 3 that he wants to try.

7.  Be Patient and Persistent:

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are healthy eating habits. It may take multiple exposures to a new food before your child feels comfortable trying it, in fact research suggests it takes children 8 to 15 times to introduce new foods before your child will take it, so be patient and keep offering opportunities to taste and explore.

dad loosing his patience

8. Set Regular Meal and Snack Times:

food clock

Establish a consistent meal and snack schedule to help regulate your child's hunger and reduce grazing between meals. This also helps regulate their moods, after all we all get grumpy when we are hungry! (Hangry) Offer snacks such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt, malt loaf or nuts to bridge the gap between meals.

no screens allowed

9. Limit Distractions and Focus on Food:

Minimize distractions during mealtime by turning off electronic devices, removing toys or gadgets from the table, and encouraging your child to focus solely on eating and enjoying their food.

Not only will it help focus your child but you won't have to sit through a meal with your child banging a toy against a table or dropping it multiple times for you to pick up!

10. Seek Professional Guidance if Needed:

If you're concerned about your child's eating habits or nutritional intake, don't hesitate to seek advice from your G.P They can offer personalized recommendations and refer you to specialists to gain support to address any underlying issues.


Dealing with a picky eater can be a challenging journey, but with patience, perseverance, and the right strategies in place, you can help your child develop healthier eating habits and a more adventurous palate.

Remember to focus on progress, not perfection, and celebrate each small victory along the way. If your child has a favourite meal that is new create a day where you will have it. We now have Meatball Mondays! By working together as a family and making mealtime a positive and enjoyable experience, you can turn picky eating woes into opportunities for growth and exploration.


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