Have a picky eater at home?  Dietitian Nutritionist, Nicole Moretta, offers some tips to reduce stress at mealtime and encourage kids to try new foods.

Tips to Reduce Stress at Mealtime with Kids

Getting kids to eat healthy and trying new foods can be tricky.  Here are some tips to help reduce stress at meal time.

  1. Get kids involved in the cooking process.  Doesn’t have to be for every meal but if they are watching you prep and cook the food they will have more buy-in.  Talk about the food and sample it while you are prepping. 
    • Example: While I’m grilling up some chicken I have the kids help me make something fun and colorful to add to the dinner.  Mango salsa! Yes, it takes an extra 10 minutes to make but those 10 minutes make dinner SOOOO much less stressful.  We talk about mango and I have them touch it and smell it and sometimes they try it and sometimes not.  Then we talk about avocado, then lime juice etc.
  2. Let them see you eat whatever you are hoping they try. Can you imagine if someone plopped down a plate of foreign food in front of you and just expected you to dig in and know how to eat it.  Kids are nervous about new things and look to grown-ups for guidance.
  3. Be prepared to introduce the food multiple times before they even try it, let alone decide if they like it or not.  Studies show that it can take about 12 times for a child to see a food before they try it. 
  4. If your child is still refusing something and it just doesn’t make sense, take a step back and try to figure out why.  Maybe talk to your child about it right then and there or maybe give yourself some time to think about it later.  Maybe the child doesn’t want to try soup because when they use a spoon they drop it all over themselves.  But maybe you can strain the soup and they will eat everything else.  Maybe they don’t like baby carrots but after you talk to them about it you find out that it hurts their teeth.  Try softening the carrots a little bit or have them try matchstick carrots.   Yes they are still raw and crunchy but a lot more manage for their little teeth.  

- Nicole Moretta, MS, RD, CDN

Sign up for our Health e-Newsletter

Inspired Health Group

3671 Southwestern Blvd.
Suites 101 & 213
Orchard Park, NY 14127-1752

Contact Us

(716) 662-7008 Office
(716) 662-5226 Fax

Office Hours

Open Today 7:45am - 5:00pm
Calls Accepted 9:00am - 4:30pm
View Office Hours by Practitioner