Some kids eat just about anything. Most, however, go through a picky eating phase—or at the very least, have picky days. Sound more like your little one?
It’s common for kids to love certain foods one day and refuse to eat them the next. Don’t worry, this is natural. However, a little creativity can go a long way. Tweaking how you serve it or finding a similarly nourishing alternative will often lead to success. Here are some ways to get your picky eater to branch out.
My child won’t eat fruit.
Try: Blending up a fruit smoothie. You can use low-fat milk or yogurt; pieces of banana, berries, or other fruit; and crushed ice. Now it’s like a milkshake!
My child won’t eat citrus fruit.
Try: Substituting strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, or potatoes, to provide other sources of vitamin C.
My child won’t eat bananas.
Try: Making homemade banana pops. Peel a banana, insert a wooden stick, then freeze it. Voila!
My child won’t drink milk.
Try: Offering a fortified toddler milk drink in a favorite flavor. These drinks can help provide nutrients needed for healthy growth and development—including DHA, iron, and calcium. Another option is offering the milk in a fun cup or with a crazy straw.
My child won’t eat beef.
Try: Serving other protein. Fish, poultry, cooked dried beans, tofu, and peanut butter all offer other sources of protein.
My child won’t eat peanut butter.
Try: Switching to another nut butter. These days, there are all kinds of nut butters out there like almond, cashew, walnut, sunflower seed, or a mix of these. If your child is younger than two years old, make sure you spread it thinly since nut butter can be a choking hazard.
My child won’t eat whole grain bread.
Try: Giving your child high-fiber white bread. Other options include whole wheat or rye crackers.
My child won’t eat spaghetti.
Try: Choosing a child-friendly pasta shape. You can give your kiddo all kinds of fun options like bow ties, shells, and wagon wheels. There are even animal-shaped pastas on the market. While you’re at it, try whole wheat or bean-based pasta to sneak in some extra nutrition.
My child won’t eat plain vegetables.
Try: Steaming veggies until soft, yet firm. Cut them into easy-to-grasp shapes. Let them cool slightly, then serve with a low-fat cheese sauce or ranch dip. Or stir fry with a little soy sauce for flavoring and serve with brown rice.
My child won’t eat cauliflower.
Try: Disguising the veggie as mashed potatoes. Mash it up and add a low-fat mozzarella cheese or nonfat sour cream.
My child won’t eat leafy green vegetables.
Try: Using dark yellow and orange veggies, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash. These are all good alternate sources of vitamin A.
My child won’t eat zucchini or carrots.
Try: Making muffins. Grate the zucchini or carrots and mix them into muffin batter. Bread, meat loaf, and lasagna are also great ways to sneakily hide veggies.
Still worried about your child’s overall nutrition? Chat with your toddler’s pediatrician to ensure that even the pickiest of eaters gets all the nutrients they need.