What to do with picky eaters?

One of the most popular topics people come here searching for is “food ideas for picky kids”.

If you are one of those seekers of answers, I feel you. My son is picky, too.

I can’t resist pointing out, however, that my baby brother was very picky as a child, including NO FRUIT ON HIS PLATE, and now he’s an executive chef at a fancy restaurant, writing seasonal menus for a whole team to prepare. He’ll eat anything, including fruit. So I maintain that picky eaters are simply an inconvenience, and unlikely to be socially inadequate or undernourished adults.

When Jen at Urban Playground blogged about her renewed purpose to expand her daughter Ella’s palette, I thought her 5 tips for your picky eater were really good. The one that resonated most with me was the simple reminder: Just put it in front of them.


Dinner is often something I dread because I don’t like to prepare food and then hear complaints about it.  This has set me on a path of serving up only what I know my kids like, which gets me nowhere in terms of broadening their menus. I want to be kind to myself at the end of the day, and that means serving pizza, pasta, scrambled eggs, and Mexican food. When I stick to those items, dinner is pleasant.  The only groveling I have to do is reminding everyone to eat their veggies.

So I know why I have forgotten to “just put it in front of them.”  But I need to get back to it.

Jen shared an update of her success with presenting salad to her picky eater in an email to me last night.

So about three weeks after doing the rework of her diet as I laid out in my blog post, she starting requesting and eating salad whenever I made it (almost nightly). Not iceberg with ranch. Mixed greens, avocado, pine nuts, lemon, olive oil, carrots, tomatoes, etc. There was even one night she asked for seconds.
There are of course some nights where she is back on the begging for cereal band wagon but it is so much better than it was. 
I cannot believe it. It is such a relief to me.

photo courtesy: Jen Latch

Another good read: What to feed a picky toddler