Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TIPsters: Feeding Picky Eaters

We're pleased to welcome another Guest T.I.P.ster this week! Mindy from Sweetness in the Small Stuff will be sharing her thoughts on Feeding Picky Eaters, along with the regular T.I.P.ster hosts, Allyson, Christy, and me.  Please click over to her blog ...and tell her we sent you. 


I don't consider four of my children to be picky eaters.  There are certainly things they don't like.  For example, Maddie would choose vegetables over anything else on the table, but she won't touch a tomato.  Gavin will try new foods without complaining, but he does not like ricotta cheese. Benjamin and Alaine have been happy (even adventurous) eaters since they tasted their first bite as babies, but they still have their own tastes.  I don't consider that to be picky. 

However, I have one child who takes picky to the next level.  Owen (5) has sensitivity issues so there are a variety of reasons why he turns his nose up at food.  All five of his senses are engaged at meal time.  If it has seeds or a bumpy texture (think strawberries)...if it is a bright color, natural or otherwise (think peas or frosted cupcakes)...(if it has a strong smell (think oranges)...if it is stringy or crunchy (think melted cheese or crispy edges)...any of those are reasons why he has difficulty eating what is put before him.  It creates a unique situation because I know there are underlying reasons why he is picky, but yet, I deem it important for him to eat nutritious foods with us as a family.  (Thankfully, Owen has always been healthy, often remaining well when the rest of us are sick.  It saves me from worrying if his diet is adequate.)

 There are occasions when Brian and I eat a special meal and the kids are offered another choice, but as a general rule, I do not cook two meals.  So how does one feed a picky child when he doesn't like anything?

First of all, I am accommodating and make sure that there is at least one thing he likes at every meal.  With the rest, it has been a slow process.  At age four, he could barely swallow a small sample of undesirable food without gagging, but we insisted that he take one bite of each food placed on his plate.  After he took one bite (sometimes this meant a very small portion, like two peas or a shred of chicken), he was free to move on to the foods he did like.  Sometimes, though, it took him an entire meal to taste, chew, and swallow one bite.  It was preferable to him to hold the food in his mouth than to swallow it.  We continued this pattern consistently, and now, at age (almost) six, he is able to eat several bites of "yucky" food at each meal, with minimal coercion.  After assuming for months that it would hurt his mouth, he recently discovered that he likes fresh pineapple!  A victory!

Do you have picky eaters?  What are your mealtime coping strategies?

As always...take a moment to visit my fellow T.I.P.sters,
AllysonChristy, and this week guest poster, Mindy!

Coming Soon:
June 19: Television Viewing (What to Watch and How Often)
July 3: Quick and Easy Summer Meals
July 17: Taking Family Photos
August 7: Schooling Kids of Different Ages
August 21: Teaching Kids to Read

Want to write a guest post on one of these topics? 
Leave a comment or e-mail me and I'll tell you how to get started.


  1. My twin girls are picky but not extremely picky eaters. There are days when I can't get them to eat anything...even if it is their favorite. It's a rough road and some days I'm at a total loss on how to handle it. Food options are starting to slim down for them...what then?

  2. We don't allow picky eaters. What I mean by that is each child is allowed 1 food they absolutely will not eat. Everything else is fair game. I make one meal for the 9 of us (my 7 children are ages 10 down to baby) and you eat what is put in front of you. If you don't eat, you don't eat. There is no alternate food, you can be hungry until the next food time. They will get hungry enough to eat. Really. I try to have bread on the table (everyone likes bread at my house) at most meals, but it doesn't always work out that way.

    Food is about fueling your body.

  3. One of our picky eater strategies is to try to make sure that there is something that everyone likes at each meal, but like Tristan, if they don't want to eat they can wait until the next normal eating time.

  4. Those victories feel so good, don't they? Great post, Kristin!


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