Tips for Finicky Eaters

Do you want your finicky toddlers to eat their peas and carrots—as well as other foods? Keep serving them up, says a study that followed 118 families over one year. The number of times children are exposed to a food may influence whether they will eat it. Mothers only exposed their children to new foods 2.5 times on average before deciding that their toddlers did not like these foods. Past studies have shown that children need to be exposed to a food up to 10 times before they will accept it. Other strategies for dealing with picky eaters:

  • Avoid rewarding a child with dessert for eating a new food. This only causes most toddlers to dislike that food even more.
  • Praise the child for eating a new food.
  • Set a good example by eating a variety of foods and trying new dishes.
  • Let your child decide how much and when to eat. Studies show that children will naturally eat enough calories for their energy needs. If your child doesn’t eat at mealtime, offer a nutritious snack a few hours later.