Conquer Picky Eaters

By: Maureen Sangiorgio

After a long, stressful day, you finally sit down to have dinner with your family. Everyone is eating and talking, except your veggie-hating child, who is pushing around the green beans with his fork. You firmly tell him to eat his veggies, and he shoots you a look that says, “Lady, I wish I could put you in time-out.” 

Relax—you’re not the only parent who’s had to deal with the issue of getting their children to eat right. Kids have been tossing their Brussels sprouts in a nearby houseplant for years. Read on to find out how to make veggies fun. 

It’s all in the presentation. When trying to get fussy kids to eat vegetables, it’s very important to present foods in an appetizing way. Use a wide variety of colorful salads and veggies, such as stir-fry with three different colors of peppers, instead of just the green ones. Coordinate entrees with veggie side dishes, such as serving a Caesar salad with pasta, or a colorful three-bean salad with tacos. 

Play games. Kids like to goof around, so why not make meal time fun, too! You can tell your child he’s a magical tree-eating monster and the broccoli are tiny trees. Use your imagination. 

Involve your kids. For most of their day, at school and at home, kids are being told what to do. At meal time, ask them their opinions so they can feel more grown-up. Discuss what veggies they like to eat, which ones they don’t care for, and why. Make them feel heard. It’s also a good idea to involve your child when shopping for veggies so he can feel like an important part of the family, and choose which ones he likes. Of course, include those choices, but don’t limit your menu to just what he prefers. 

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