9 More Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Foods

Broccoli for children who won't eat it.Do you have a picky eater in the house? Readers shared wonderful comments on 12 Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Foods. I’ve collected them here and added a few more.

  1. Reframe their pickiness. Say, “Today you don’t want the broccoli,” instead of “You don’t like broccoli.” Next time you serve it, don’t mention any previous rejection—assume they have forgotten.
  2. Ask kids to take at least one bite of each food. They don’t have to like it, but they shouldn’t complain either.
  3. Try serving undesirable food in different shapes or with different seasonings. 
  4. Bring home new foods from the market  and experiment together with your kids. 
  5. Use whole grains in foods where it is less likely to be noticed at first. I used to add brown rice to casseroles, but now they are happy to eat it plain.
  6. Offer the food only once, then eat it in front of the kids. Talk about how you enjoy it. (But don’t overdo it.)
  7. Try offering single, identifiable foods instead of combinations. 
  8. Put the healthier food out  first, keeping the preferred or less healthy food off the table for a while. Example: Serve salad first when kids are hungry, then put out the chicken that you know they will eat.
  9. Don’t model picky eating. If you don’t like something, keep it to yourself (but don’t lie). Let your children see that you are also willing to eat foods that may not be your favorites.
Thanks to readers Rachel, Kate, Kelli and Leah for their suggestions.
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  1. I just reread my original comment and thought an “update” was in order. Healthier eating has become the norm for us-we now eat almost no white pasta or rice, challa is always 50/50 whole wheat/white flour, typically half my shopping cart is filled with produce etc. I am blessed with kids who are pretty adventurous eaters, but to those who think their kids/spouse won’t go along with the changes-start small and you’ll most likely be amazed where you end up.

  2. Thanks Rachel, glad to hear it.

  3. Very good tips! Often kids will eat raw veggies if you serve them with a dip. Also, I’ve cut sandwiches into fourths with each fourth being a triangle. That way the crust is the “handle” and if they don’t eat the whole sandwich there is less waste. Somehow eating a triangle was more enticing to them than a rectangle!

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