The Dreaded Picky Eater

Either you’ve been blessed with an angel that eats whatever you give them, or you’ve been faced with the daunting task of raising the picky eater.

Some kids just won’t eat vegetables, let alone allow them near their plate! Some won’t eat it unless it’s orange, fun to play with, or covered in ketchup.

My sister had a thing for butter when she was a kid. And my mom actually let her have it! Sticks, tubs, you name it. Amazingly enough, today she is beautiful, healthy and thin as a stick. Leaving me to wonder: where’d all that butter go?

Obviously, children have magical powers and metabolisms that allow them to survive on just about anything. But shouldn’t we at least try to get them to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet? We all know you can’t force a child to eat something. It just won’t happen. So how do you get them to try new things and eat healthy?

Experts recommend games. Laughter and adventure can go a long way with a child in just about any situation! Not to mention it can make them feel happy and loved.

Here’s 3 creative games that could make all the difference in getting your picky eater to chow down:

1. Dino Din-Din. Most preschoolers love dinosaurs. And usually, your children will know more dinosaur names than you! If you and your children are not so familiar with dinosaurs and their eating habits, read a dinosaur book before dinner.

How to play: This is a story-telling game. You are the narrator and the kids are actors. Instruct your kids that they will be magic dinosaurs for the evening and that you have prepared some dinosaur favorites. Bonus: let them choose their dinosaur names! Begin the story with “Once upon a time there was a magic dinosaur that could change into any kind of dinosaur. He loved to eat. In fact, food gave him his magic powers…” Bottom line: When you say “I see a Tyrannosaurus Rex at my table! T-Rex loves meat!” Tell the kids to turn into a T-Rex by eating the meat on their plate. Next say, “Brontosaurus has a long neck and loves to eat plants! Do I see a Brontosaurus eating green leaves?” In addition to getting your children to (hopefully) eat their veggies, this game is a great exercise in memory and learning.

2. Musical Plates. This variation of musical chairs works best at snack time. You can use place mats on the floor instead of chairs at the dinner table if you want.

How to play: Judge the amount of plates and food by how many are playing. Keep in mind that your kids may only take one bite—the point of the game is to at least get them to try something new. The child that eats all of their snacks wins!

Put one kind of snack on each plate, for example, carrot sticks, apple slices on another, etc…(Try to put one or two fun snacks out that you know they’ll be excited about).

The game works just like Musical Chairs, except no kids get eliminated! The point is to keep them eating their healthy snack until the game is over.

3. Rainbow Tongues. You probably know that beets will turn your tongue red, blueberries blue and so on—they can stain your clothes and carpet pretty badly too, so be careful!

How to play: There’s not much to this game! First, eat some blueberries and show your kids how your tongue changes color! Then, tempt them to have a competition to see who can get their tongue the darkest. You could even use food coloring to turn just about any healthy foods into fun! What kid wouldn’t love to eat green eggs and ham with mom?

What has worked for you? How do you get your picky eater to try new foods?

6 responses to “The Dreaded Picky Eater

  1. If your kids won’t eat vegetables, give them dip to go with it. Katie tried her first celery stick when I gave her some ranch salad dressing to dip it in. My children also like hummus, salsa, and bbq sauce. My worst mistake with Katie was giving food human-like qualities. For example, I told her once that Mr. salad would cry if she didn’t take a bite of him. BIG MISTAKE! We’re still working on getting her to eat salad. I think in her mind it’s just wrong to eat him now he’s like a person.


  2. Thanks! I have a 3 year old son that is the pickiest eater I know. Would love to get him to eat something besides bread and hot dogs for a change. I really love the dino din din idea btw.


  3. I have two twin girls age 5 and god have mercy! They are the pickiest eaters! I would truly and gratefully appreciate any help I can get to make them eat something healthy. I have tried it all. Reverse psychology, punishment, tempting those girls with dessert…you name it and I’ve tried it!


  4. It’s hard getting kids to eat. They only eat what they want to seriously! I’m lucky that my girl likes some good foods, but she definitely wont try everything. But thats normal right? I mean I was the same way and I did ok.


  5. Thank you all for the help and advice. I will definitely try these out. I like the idea of games instead of punishment very much. Also, thank you Sheila for the good advice on not making food seem like a person. I can see how that plan back fired big. 🙂


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