Parenting a Picky Eater

December 2, 2011

Picky Eater BoyI have taken care of over 200 kids (not all at once). Several of them had brought soda and candy bars for breakfast. I said no to that and made oatmeal. They never had oatmeal and refused to eat it.


I told them it was magic oatmeal. Before I dished the oatmeal into bowls, I put a couple of drops of food coloring in the bottom of bowl. I told them that they had to stir their oatmeal once the milk was poured. One had blue oatmeal and another red, green, and yellow. They got so excited they couldn't wait until they got their next bowl of oatmeal. They learned their colors at the same time!

By cj from Minot, ND

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March 29, 2019

I was an extremely picky kid, I admit. I didn't think I liked anything - no vegetables or any strange or new food. I was pretty much meat and potatoes, and sweets, of course.


My parents would demand that I eat; forcing me, threatening, even hitting, and withholding desserts if I didn't "clean my plate."

A father talking to his son at a party.

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October 23, 2012

I bought a clear glass dinner plate from the $1 store. I set the plate on top of my granddaughter's Strawberry Shortcake placemat. When she eats her food, Strawberry starts to show through.

Help Kids Clear Their Plate

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July 12, 2007

If your child is a poor eater, put their child size portion on a big dinner plate. That way it looks like you're only asking them to eat a little bit.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 166 Posts
August 3, 2006

I often have my grandson at my house. Being a toddler, he is a picky eater. I came up with this idea when we were reading a book called "Eating a Rainbow".

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March 18, 2009

Children are greatly affected by "shapes" of their food. The smaller bow tie pasta is great way to encourage them to eat.


Get creative and serve food in different sizes and shapes for those picky eaters!

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15 Questions

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October 26, 2007

My child is a very picky eater. Over the top. He will only eat a certain type of chicken nuggets from a certain store. That was for a few months, now he won't eat them. He is the same with salami. He won't eat really any veggies except the occasional not cooked carrot or canned green beans. He will not eat meat except a certain type of hamburger cooked only on the stove top. He is afraid of the texture and look of food. Last night he cried for 20 minutes because we made him eat 1 piece of broccoli and 1 cooked carrot that were dipped in ketchup.

I know, make him sit until he eats, well he will go for over 2 1/2 hours (he is 7). Any suggestions to help a picky eater with sight and texture phobias? Being cruel and forceful with this child is a waste of time. In every other aspect he is a great caring fun loving child. He is not autistic so I know that is not his problem. Thank you. Lisa


By (Guest Post)
October 26, 20070 found this helpful

I have a picky eater also. I try and give as much variety as possible that she will eat and supplement it with children's vitamins.
Children's taste buds are way more sensitive than adults. They are much more likely to eat bland foods such as Mac and cheese, chicken, potatoes, eggs or sweet things like fruit.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 149 Feedbacks
October 26, 20070 found this helpful

try letting him get involved in fixing his foods. He is 7 so I know he would be interested in it. For sandwiches use cookie cutters in animal shapes let him cut out his bread even meats like ham bologna cheese etc. with the shapes. buy the soups in the cans with fun characters like Dora, Spiderman, etc, and maybe he will find those of eye appeal to eat.


I would not making eating an argument or be forced. At 7 if it's of interest in some way maybe it would look and taste more appealing to him. here are some helpful sites

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October 26, 20070 found this helpful

it sounds like he might be OCD or autistic. check them out. but he will eat when he is hungry. fussing over his not eating will probably make him worse. give him his food and ignore. i would think he would start eating maybe several days but he will eat.

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May 30, 2008

My 8 year old son is getting pickier and pickier with food. He used to eat Chicken Nuggets, Grilled Cheese, Mac N Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Burgers and Hot dogs. Now all he wants is pizza.

He refuses the Nuggets saying they are not cooked right (but they are the same as always). Hot dogs he says we burned once and now he will not eat. Burgers, can only be cooked on stove and now he is saying he does not like the taste.

I think he has a thing with textures. All he wants is pizza or sometimes cheese tacos and only Granny Smith Apples. Any suggestions? We do try and make him eat other things but it is a long drawn out fight of wills. Is there a doctor I can take the child to and they would explain to him the importance of eating good? Help, I am so frustrated.

mom of 2 from Westland, MI

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October 4, 2010

I can't get my 6 year old to eat anything besides junk. I know if I don't buy it she can't eat it, but she won't eat anything then. She's an only child so it's not like she has a big kid to follow. I eat everything healthy you can think of, but she pays no mind to that. I'm constantly fighting a losing battle. Any ideas?

By CraftyMom from Pasco, FL

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November 15, 2006

My 3 year old son with autism won't eat anything but McDonald's fries, pancakes, and PB & J sandwiches. I have tried every trick in the book. Any suggestions? (Accepting potty training tips too.)

Robin from Palm Bay, FL


By Lee-Ann (Guest Post)
November 16, 20060 found this helpful

I am not sure, Robin, but I have a 3 yr. old daughter newly diagnosed with autism and would love to hear from you, if you're interested...You could leave a response and let me know.


My daughter is in the midst of potty training. It's not progressing too far and she will only eat carbs/junk food. I can get her to take a multivitamin though.

I am beside myself and feel like this is too much for me to handle. I really feel lost.

God Bless.

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November 16, 20060 found this helpful

My daughter is 3 1/2 and was diagnosed with autism late last year. She is super picky and is also a carb/junk food-only eater. I would love to talk more and share ideas with you guys if you'd like to. My daughter is nearly potty trained finally! She fought it for months and all of a sudden it seems as though something "clicked" and a couple of weekends ago she just ran up to me and said she had to go potty and she hasn't looked back since. I guess up until then she just wasn't ready and now she's diaper free during the day and wears a pull up during naps and nighttime. Good luck - it's such a hard time going through the whole potty training thing - especially when you're child is autistic - no matter how well functioning they are. Sending hugs and hope to hear from anybody who'd like to talk more.

Jennifer, Michigan

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November 16, 20060 found this helpful

Lee-ann you need to find some support. It is a lot to handle but after time it becomes easier. Please communicate with someone all of your concerns and if you'd like, we can talk about it thru emails. my address is robinflanary6 AT Feel free to write me anytime. Smiles.

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November 16, 20060 found this helpful

Robin, I have a 3 y.o. grandson with autism. His Mom finds he accepts finger foods better than others. Have you tried fruit with peanut butter on it. cubes of cheese, crackers, and small pieces of veggies. Sometimes he does better if he can carry his food around with him. I know this is not good manners, but may help at home. Linda

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By carla bledsoe (Guest Post)
November 16, 20060 found this helpful

along with getting support from others you might check out the gluten free websites for tips for children with autism. many are found to have gluten sensitivity and shouldn't eat foods made with gluten containing grains. primarily wheat. as in buns, cookies and cakes. a lot of parents seem to find the gluten free diet a great help to their autistic children. i do not have autism but i am gluten sensitive and you wouldn't believe the difference there is when you stop eating foods that contain gluten. i have so much more energy and focus and thank heaven, less depression. good luck

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By Julie (Guest Post)
November 16, 20060 found this helpful

We have a 2 year old daughter, not autistic, but very simular symptoms. We are looking at chelation therapy for her to get her system right. We recently ran a Heavy metals test on her hair, with astonishing results, she has heavy levels of lead, among other things. Her natural elements are all messed up in her body. I believe once we go through the chelation, she will be rid of everything negative in her body, thus making her normal again - No bad eating habits and no hyperisms....Please, if anything, try to run a heavy metals test on your child, that will at least tell you what you are up against here. I have read many success stories for autistic children with this therapy. A friend of mine has a 3 year old who was autistic and is now 80% cured doing this chelation. It's important to find a doctor who knows about it. God Bless and Best wishes! Mom of 4, twinsand2more

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March 2, 2009

I have a 5 year old son who has autism and he is a picky eater. He only eats French fries chicken nuggets and pizza from Lil' Caesar's. Can anyone suggest any tips to get him to eat more foods?

Queede from Detroit, MI

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October 2, 2011

We recently moved from the UK to Florida. My son was already a fussy eater but would eat chicken, sausages, fish fingers, pasta shapes in tomato sauce, cereals with milk, bread, and yoghurts. Now here in the US he won't eat anything, except some chips (fries) and a fish stick if we are lucky. If we ask him to try stuff we think he'll like he goes into a panic and makes up his mind he don't like it. How can I get him to try stuff without him going into melt down? It's heart breaking.

By Athers1

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May 26, 2012

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to get my seven year old son to eat anything but bread and butter? I have tried everything I can thing of, but nothing works. Unless we give him his bread and butter he won't stop crying. I don't know what to do, it is ripping the family apart. Please help.

By Brooke

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March 22, 2019

Even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy this fruit and veggie smoothie. Carrots and cucumbers are perfectly blended with apples and pineapple, in this yummy smoothie. This is a page about fruit and veggie smoothie for picky eaters.

boy drinking smoothie

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