Picky eating: 10 fun tips to get kids to try new foods

Does your child say no to new foods? Getting your child to try something new can be frustrating. It can make mealtimes stressful for you, your child and the rest of the family. Try these ideas to get your child more interested in trying new foods.

1. Get your kids involved in the kitchen. Children can wash fruit and vegetables, tear lettuce, mix batter or push the buttons on the microwave. Help your child if he is too young to do these tasks on his own.

2. Work together. Children can set the table and take the family’s drink “orders” to help prepare for mealtime. Get the whole family to work together.

3. Try gardening. Plant a garden and watch it grow! Good starter vegetables are carrots, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, radishes, peas and onions.

4. Plan together. Involve your kids in the meal planning process. Let them help choose a healthy meal once a week. Print this menu planning worksheet to get started.

5. Get creative. Present foods in creative ways. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes with a knife or cookie cutter. Try these fun “foodimals” which are foods shaped like animals!

6. Try kid-approved recipes. Try these healthy and fun kid-approved recipes from our Kids Recipe Challenge.

7. Have a dinner theme night. Choose dishes that come from different parts of the world. Try Mexican, Chinese, African, Caribbean, IndianItalianThaiEastern EuropeanMiddle Eastern, Swedish, Vietnamese or Ethiopian.

8. Learn through games and activities. Play games and do activities to learn about food. Put mystery foods in a paper bag and guess which foods they are by feeling or smelling them. Get your child to draw her own place mat with her favourite foods or solve funny riddles. Here’s a fun colouring activity to try.

9. Go on a field trip! Take an adventure to the pumpkin patch, a corn maze or your local farmers market. Even a grocery store in a different neighbourhood might have new vegetables and fruit to learn about. See what your family can discover!

10. Make it fun! Have nights where you have breakfast for dinner; make your own pizza night; build your own yogurt sundae bar; or just snack on veggies and dip with popcorn for dessert. 

Bottom line

A Registered Dietitian at EatRight Ontario can answer your questions on picky eating, send you handouts or find you extra professional help if you need it. Call 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.

For more information: 

Say Goodbye to Picky Eating!
Picky Eaters Commonly Asked Questions

Last Update – October 9, 2016

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If you have questions about what you've read here, or other questions about food, nutrition or healthy eating, click to email our Registered Dietitians or call 1-877-510-5102.