Top Left Logo
UR a Parent Healthy People, Healthy Communities
Skip Navigation Links
For Health Professionals
Contact Us

Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer
Index      Small Text Medium Text Large Text  

Picky Eating?

Most young children are “picky” about food. All foods are new to a child. Some children will accept a new food the first time it is offered and others may need more time.    

Did you know?

A child may need to be offered a food 20 times or more before he/she learns to eat it! This includes seeing a food, watching you eat, touching or tasting a food and even spitting it out.

Keep in mind that children may eat a food one day and refuse it the next time it is offered; they may eat a lot one day and little the next; or they may not eat every food at a meal, but only one or two foods.

Pressure backfires! Forcing, bribing, lecturing, coaxing, rewarding or playing games to get your child to eat will not help him/her learn to enjoy a variety of foods. Relax and let your child learn to eat in his/her own time.

Things you can do to help your child develop healthy eating habits:
  • Learn about your “job” and your child’s “job” in feeding.     
  • Establish a routine of family meals and sit-down snacks.  
  • Offer a variety of healthy foods at meals and snacks and let your child decide to eat from what is offered.   
  • Your child needs opportunities to learn to try new foods.  Don’t limit the menu to food your child readily accepts or prepare a separate meal for your child.
  • When offering a new food, start with a small amount and serve it along with a familiar food. Don’t pressure your child to try the new food; let him/her decide whether to eat it.
  • Enjoy eating with your child. Don’t focus the conversation on what your child is eating or not eating or how much.
  • Trust that your child will eat the amount of food that is right for him/her. 
  • Be a good role model.

More Resources
UR a Parent logo



Love your child
Listen to your child
Learn for your child
Lead your Child


Updated Jan 31, 2018