Some kids will eat just about anything. Most, however, go through picky phases—or at least have picky days. It’s common for them to eat certain foods eagerly one day and then refuse the same items the next. But a little creativity can go a long way. Often tweaking the form of the food or finding a similarly nourishing cousin will lead to success. Here are some alternatives to consider.
Won’t Eat Fruit?
Try This: Blending a fruit smoothie using nonfat or low fat milk or yogurt; pieces of banana, berries, or other fruit; and crushed ice.
Won’t Eat Citrus Fruit?
Try This: Substituting strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, potatoes, or vitamin-C enriched fruit juice (other sources of vitamin C).
Won’t Eat Bananas?
Try This: Making homemade banana pops, by peeling a banana, inserting a wooden stick, then freezing it.
Won’t Drink Milk?
Try This: Offering a fortified children’s milk formula in a favorite flavor. These drinks offer the nutrients your child needs for healthy growth and development—including DHA, iron, and calcium.
Won’t Eat Beef?
Try This: Offering fish, poultry, legumes, tofu, and peanut butter (other sources of protein).
Won’t Eat Peanut Butter?
Try This: Swapping in other nut butters (such as almond or cashew), sunflower seed butter, or a mix of these (edit)(spread very thinly for a child younger than 2, as nut butters can be a choking hazard).
Won’t Eat Whole Grain Bread?
Try This: Giving him high-fiber white bread, or whole wheat or rye crackers.
Won’t Eat Spaghetti?
Try This: Choosing a child-friendly pasta shape, such as bow ties, shells, and wagon wheels (opt for whole wheat pasta).
Won’t Eat Plain Vegetables?
Try This: Steaming veggies until soft yet firm, cutting them into easy-to-grasp shapes, letting them cool slightly, then serving with a low fat cheese sauce or low fat ranch dressing for dipping. Or stir fry with a little soy sauce for flavoring; serve with brown rice.
Won’t Eat Cauliflower?
Try This: Mashing it up like mashed potatoes and adding low fat mozzarella or nonfat sour cream.
Won’t Eat Green Leafy Vegetables?
Try This: Using dark yellow and orange veggies, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash (other sources of vitamin A).
Won’t Eat Zucchini or Carrots?
Try This: Grating and mixing into muffin batter, quick bread, meat loaf, or lasagna.
And if you’re worried about your child’s overall nutrition, a balanced children’s milk can help ensure that even a picky eater gets a variety of nutrients.