3 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Foods They Don't Like

Mealtimes can be a huge cause of stress when there’s a picky eater at the table. We know that only want what’s best for our kids but they just won’t eat their vegetables!

It’s time to take a breath and relax your shoulders. After all, stressful situations will only get worse when you’re feeling frustrated and uptight. We need to approach the food fight with peace and an open mind.

Here are 3 ways to help you do that.

1.  Get them involved in the preparation

toddler cooking

Whilst hiding tiny pieces of broccoli in your kid’s dinner might feel like the best way to get them to eat their vegetables, this could actually have the opposite effect.

Think about it this way…

Hiding something in their food will give them a reason to be suspicious of it - yes, broccoli suspicion is a real thing. Instead, try getting them involved in the food prep! They get to add all of the ingredients in, help you to prepare and cook the meal, and you haven’t hidden anything inside. Quite the opposite, they have added the foods that they don’t like into their meal.

Cooking is exciting for kids - they get to have fun in the kitchen followed by eating their very own invention. Our best advice is to start by only adding one single ingredient that they don’t like as to not overwhelm them.

2.  Don’t make a big deal out of it

It feels natural to make a big deal out of our kids trying new food. Trust us, we’ve been there. The cheering, the celebrating, the “just one more mouthful”...

If you’re relaxed, your kids are relaxed. Mealtimes don’t need to be a big deal. And whilst you and your partner will want to celebrate the fact that your kid just tried two new vegetables, you might want to reserve the celebrations to a knowing glance across the table.

Instead, try this: 

When serving up a slice of chocolate cake, say “here you go”.

When serving up a plate of vegetables, say “here you go”.

This is the first step in making all food equal and, as a result, your child will begin to see it that way too.

3.  Offer food that they don’t like alongside food that they do like

toddler eating

A quick way to turn your child completely against the food they don’t like is by offering them that food only in the hope that their hunger will force them to eat it. Another way is to avoid serving up the food that they don’t like completely - in an attempt to avoid frustration, which we totally understand.

To encourage your child round to the idea of trying new foods, simply serve a small portion of the food alongside foods that they do like. This could mean adding a couple of carrot sticks next to their mac ‘n’ cheese, or a small handful of raspberries alongside their biscuit. 

Do you have any tried and tested methods of encouraging your children to eat foods that they don’t like? We would love to know!


Writer: Keira Shepherd

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