Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I hear it all the time from fellow moms: "My kid's picky eating is driving me crazy!'

Two years ago I was totally in the same boat. My oldest daughter, Lily, only wanted to eat kraft mac n' cheese, hot dogs and chicken nuggets. :sigh:

Then we made a few small changes. Now our kiddo actually likes things such as asparagus, sweet potatoes, and fish. I thought I would share our changes with you so you can see what worked for our family and hopefully they might help you a bit with your picky eater. These rules are still in place today.

Change #1 (The most effective change)
Two-Bite Rule
Tastebuds are one of those things that are constantly changing and adjusting as we grow older so it's important to have kiddos keep trying different foods because one day they may dislike something and a week later they may eat a full serving of it.

We told Lily, and reminded her daily, that she had to try two bites of everything on her plate at every meal. No exceptions. She wasn't excused from the table until those two bites of everything were in her belly. At first it was really difficult. Yep, there were tears. But once she realized that we weren't going to back down, she took her two bites much more willingly. And she discovered that she actually likes peas, and more recently, black beans hummus.

Change #2
If Lily doesn't eat all her food at a meal, she is only allowed to eat fruit at snack time (10:00 and 3:00). This is so she can't fill up on unhealthy things like goldfish or fruit snacks and so she has more opprotunity to eat fruit. My mom did the same thing with my siblings and I when we were growing up and it totally worked.

Change #3
No Complaining
At meal time, there is no complaining over what is served - that includes us parents! If we have a positive attitude towards food, then our kiddos have a more positive approach to trying new foods.

Change #4
Stop Serving It!
Back when Lily only wanted to eat hot dogs, Kraft mac, and chicken nuggets, I made the decision to stop buying and cooking them for her except on rare occasions. Last time I checked, little kids can't cook and grocery shop on their own so if they are only eating junk food, it's more our fault than theirs. Stop buying unhealthy foods and they won't be able to eat it and will have to try other things.

Each of these changes dramatically changed our child's eating habits. While I would still classify her as a somewhat picky eater, she now will try anything and because of that, she keeps finding new foods that she likes. And for us, that's the important part.


  1. Your last comment is one that we've really stuck to. Our oldest wasn't picky so much as a non-eater. That made me even MORE desirous to have only healthy options for her. I've definitely learned that I can't make my kids eat but I CAN control WHAT they eat. So no goldfish or fruit snacks. It's organic fruit, raisins, and cheese! (Unless dad is home. Then it's poptarts because HE can buy himself food. :sigh:)

  2. Amen! It's so hard to cook for picky eaters. That was one thing I tried so hard keep my kids from doing, more for me because it makes me cranky to have somebody complain when I worked hard to put it on the table. Always wondered about the whole, "they only eat chips" thing. This is perfect!!! - "Last time I checked, little kids can't cook and grocery shop on their own"
    Great job, pat yourself on the back.


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