Is Your Child a Picky Eater?

The holidays are approaching fast! That means it’s time for turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce and more! Yum!…but what about the picky eaters in our families? Many parents report difficulty in feeding their children at some stage. Often, children refuse to eat specific groups of foods (like vegetables, or fruits). Other children may refuse to eat foods with certain textures or new foods in general. This results in worried parents and stressful mealtimes. Aren’t the holidays stressful enough? Here are some tips if your child prefers chicken nuggets over turkey:

  • Talk to your kids about holiday plans. Sometimes unfamiliar situations or people can be overwhelming for children and contribute to their decreased appetites.
  • Let them taste test the food before the big meal. Encouraging a child to try something new in an already stressful situation could backfire.
  • Remain calm during dinner! If your child picks up on your stress about their eating it can end up escalating into a battle of wills and can become a control issue.
  • Respect their hunger levels. It’s best not to force your child to eat past when they feel full. Children tend to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full…trust that they know their bodies.
  • Serve a new food with a favorite. This way they can feel comfortable knowing there is something that they like on their plate to enjoy. Make it fun and tasty! Serve vegetables with a yummy dip or fruit with some yogurt that they enjoy. Little ones love to dip their food!
  • Serve small portions. Their little stomachs do not need much to get full and especially when trying a new food, it can be far less intimidating for them to see just a small amount on their plate!
  • Don’t let others undermine you. Picky eating can be difficult to understand and even more difficult to deal with. You’re trying your best to do what’s right for your child!
  • Remember what the holidays are really about. What we eat or don’t eat is secondary, what matters most at any meal is the time we spend making memories together.

Switchboard’s Help Me Grow program can provide additional parent tips and other resources regarding your child’s development. For more information ask for Help Me Grow through Switchboard’s already existing 2-1-1 helpline or visit