Picky child eating healthy

How to Get Picky Eaters to Eat Healthy

#foodeducation #healthyeatingmadesimple Jun 30, 2022

I am asked this question all the time:

“Shelley, how can I get my kids or my picky eaters to begin eating healthy food?”

I think sometimes you just have to get creative. Instead of saying “here is your smoothie” 😶, what if you made it a pretty bowl and let them put their own toppings on it?



It’s all about mindset, too. The way YOU approach healthy eating (yes, I mean you, the parent/guardian) will have a big effect on how they react to food. I was listening to a podcast this week and someone said “we learn by what is shown, not by what is taught”. Meaning that kids learn more from our behaviors than they do by us telling them what to do (or not do).

When it comes to healthier eating, it can be tricky if the habits are already there. If your children are young, you are at a greater advantage than those with kids over the age of 6. 

Here are some tips I have for getting children (or any picky eater) to eat healthier options:

1. Smoothies and sauces are a sneaky way to add nutritious ingredients without them knowing. Most kids love spaghetti so blending some added foods into the sauce is a sure-fire way for them to get more nutrients. You can add foods like spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, hemp seeds, and more. The same goes for the smoothies. I love to add spinach/kale, ground flax, chia seeds, avocados, and more.

2. If you have kids that are under 10, you can play a game with them. Whatever their current favorite character is (ex: could be unicorns or a superhero). Tell them that “___ (Insert character)’s favorite food is _____. ____ food makes them shoot more rainbows or _____ food gives them super powers”. When you work with their imagination they will play along with you

3. Get them in the kitchen. Buy a stool so they can reach the counter. Have them do small tasks on grocery store day like putting grapes in ziplock bags or dropping eggs in the water to boil. Kids want to help. And when they have a hand in whatever you are cooking, they are much more inclined to eat it. Let them suggest a healthy snack for the week and have them make it. I had my grandson help me make gluten-free muffins. He poured the ingredients and do you know what??? He didn’t know they were gluten-free and he ate 3. 

4. Do not “force” them to clean their plate. This really starts a negative relationship with food. If they choose not to eat what you serve, save it. And tell them they can have it when they are ready but that is all they are getting until the next meal. Maybe even give them the power to pick one ingredient for the next meal if they eat what you are serving them at the current meal.

5. Start them young! If you are having a baby or have a baby that is beginning to eat solid foods, this is the perfect time to start fresh! They don’t know what processed foods are and they have never had store-bought juices and snacks. Introduce them to fruits and vegetables at every meal. If they turn their nose up, do not give up. Reintroduce it every 6 months. Tastebuds are everchanging

6. If they like a specific product (example: Yoplait fruit yogurt) and you want to switch it out for a healthier option, keep the containers of the old products (ex: keep the yogurt container). Clean it out and replace the product with the healthier stuff. We eat with our eyes AND kids also like things that are familiar. If they “see” their old container/box/jar they will be more inclined to eat it. Once you transition them over, you can then tell them they have been eating a new version. It’s a smooth transition into a healthier product. You can do this with snacks, crackers, yogurts, etc 


I will leave you with this.

How is YOUR approach to healthier eating?

Do you make snarky comments about it? Do you snub your nose at it? Do you drive through Starbucks with your kids in the car? What overly processed foods are you buying at the store for them to eat at home? What are YOU snacking on? It starts with YOU. 

If YOU don’t know where to start, I am so happy you found this blog. The best place to begin is with you. And I am here to help. 

If you haven’t done so, be sure to join my newsletter. It’s full of weekly emails to encourage you and offer all kinds of tips, recipes, videos, suggestions, classes, and more. 

You can join the newsletter by clicking HERE.

Chin up buttercup! I am here to help you make healthier food decisions…one meal at a time. 





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