Stop the Food Fights: Tips for Picky Eaters

Here are some tips for picky eaters you can implement tonight and begin to shift your child’s eating habits.

Some days I feel like dinnertime can be a real fight.

When you have a picky eater, it can be tough to get through a meal without whining, complaining or refusing to eat what is served.

It’s time to stop the food fight. 

Be sure to check out even more of my helpful parenting tips, too!

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Stop the Food Fights: Parenting Tips for Picky Eaters #pickyeater #parenting

Stop the Food Fights: Tips for Picky Eaters

1. Have a Strategy

Approaching snacks and mealtimes with a strategy can help a great deal.

It arms you to better manage your child’s begging, not finishing food and a refusal to eat certain foods.

Read on for some specifics on strategy.

2. Loosen the Control Grip

Unfortunately, parents often grab for more control when there’s a situation that needs “correcting” – whether it’s an overweight child or a picky eater.

The problem with this, though, is that it may create an obsession with “forbidden” foods or set your child up to make excuses to reward him or herself by eating comfort foods.

In an era when more than half of Americans are overweight, we need to take special care not to set our kids up for a weight struggle later in life.

So relax, and focus on teaching your child to listen to his or her body and focus on healthy eating.

3. Plan Meals and Snacks

Having meals planned may help a lot with picky eating.

Display the menu on the fridge.

And if your child can’t read yet, consider using a visual meal calendar.

Also think about planning your snacks.

This will help curb your child from begging for a particular snack every day, leading you to give in and let him/her eat junk food.

It may take a while to get your child on board, but in the end, kids tend to respond positively to routine.

4. Keep Foods Simple

Casseroles are tempting because they are easy and inexpensive, but kids tend to shun “mixtures.”

I know mine do!

Besides, you may find that simple, plain foods are actually easier to prepare in the end.

Finger foods tend to be a big hit, like sandwiches, vegetables and dip, sliced fruit, and simple pastas are often popular.

5. Hide the Veggies and Fruits

Fresh veggies and fruits can be whizzed in a blender with jarred spaghetti sauce, cheese dip and pizza sauce.

Speaking of pizza, mince up spinach or zucchini and sprinkle over pizza.

Cover with veggie pepperoni and a moderate amount of cheese.

6. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Give your child choices of what to eat – just make sure that each option is something healthy and acceptable.

This helps the child feel like he or she has a voice in what is eaten and also introduces them to variety that is a key to healthy eating.

7. Create Funny Food

Check Pinterest for fun ways to prepare food.

You can make landscapes with rice or mashed potatoes as a background; cut fruit and cheese into shapes; and cut bread into shapes as well.

There are so many things you can do to make food fun and beautiful to look at – and somehow, kids tend to like eating these fun landscapes!

8. Ask If Something More is Going On

If your child really has a hard time with eating or consistently refuses to eat and/or gags while eating, it’s time to consider if something bigger is going on.

Some kids have serious sensory food aversions which affect their ability to eat.

The idea that these children will outgrow these feeding issues (or eat if they’re hungry enough) is false and requires intervention.

Stop the Food Fight! Tips for Picky Eaters | Mommy Evolution


  1. Great tips! My oldest son will eat just about anything (except pasta, which is weird lol). My daughter is 12 and is so picky and refuses to try new things. Our 6 year old son will try a few things here and there so there is hope for him 🙂

  2. Great tips! Something that we practiced in our house is that everyone always tried one bite of a food. If you didn’t like it after one bite, you didn’t have to eat it. It was just expected that everyone tried a bite. We had lots of funny dinners where we all tried our bites and didn’t want to eat anymore, even Mom and Dad! It was very comfortable, and presented more like an adventure (What’s going to be on our plates tonight?) and never controlling, just our tradition. Same when it came to our kids: my son had a texture issue, so if he tried and it gagged him (usually spinach), he got praise for trying. Today my daughter uses the same laid back tradition, and my three year old grandson loves broccoli and dislikes chewy candies. I love the tip about blending in fruits and veggies with sauces. I would have definitely tried that one for even more nutritious meals!

    1. We definitely do the “one bite” rule as well. But we didn’t start that way with our picky eater. It was more a battle and everyone else did the one bite. Once he got to a certain age, we added in that he had to at least try it. 🙂

  3. Great article picky eater …kids can be so correct. I don’t even like broccoli. lol. what I do give it to the kids in a juice form they love the smoothie I make. graphic is on point. You engage me. Thanks for sharing

    1. Juices and smoothies are such a great way to get in those awesome veggies and fruit 🙂

  4. Great tips. I don’t try to to control/force what my kids eat, but I do need to start being more intentional about getting them to eat healthy. Intentional, and also maybe a little sneaky 😉

    1. Intentional is a great way to put it! We talk a lot about keeping our bodies healthy in our house and how we can make smart choices to help our body grow strong.

  5. Both my daughters are picky eaters and I am too to some degree, but I am now as an adult a lot more eager to eat a variety of things. My oldest daughter likes bland, white foods, and is obsessed with cheese, and dislikes most meat, my little one will eat meat, but leave other kinds of foods. They both dislike most veggies and only like certain fruit. It is a struggle to get them to eat any vegetable so I opt for fruit. The other day I had no spaghetti sauce and I actually made my own by cooking tomato sauce, tomatoes, peppers and onions and putting it in the blender, both my daughters ate it all, so I think this blender idea is good, because both of them hate tomatoes, peppers and onions.

    I like the idea of making a menu, even for snacks, so that they know what to eat, to me it’s a bit hard just to get them to agree to something, since they both have very different tastes.

    But your post was very helpful, thanks so much.

    1. Ha! You came across a great way to get your kiddos to eat on your own. Next time sneak in some cooked spinach. They won’t know but you’ll know everyone’s eating healthier.

  6. Fab post – especially love the hiding veggies under veggie pepperoni.
    the one bite rule is huge in our household…NOT that it has changed anything, YET!
    Also, choices: baby carrots…or cucumber sticks? LOL

  7. The Everywomen says:

    Very Informative Content. Thanks for sharing

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