What the Heck to DO About a Picky Eater? - Adaptive Nourishment
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I don’t know about the rest of you, but over here, we have a little problem with picky eaters. Not necessarily the plural most of the time. But there is one child in particular who has been a picky eater since food was first introduced, and sometimes it seems that her pickiness rubs off on the other children. Having a picky eater in any household, let alone a household of 7, can make for a challenge. So how the heck to we handle it?

The Background

As a parent with a pretty decent nutritional background, one would think picky eaters wouldn’t occur over here. Not so! One of my children has been extremely picky since birth. Everyone has said that she will outgrow it (just like her sleep issues) and she will become a more adventurous eater. I am sorry to say but I am calling bullshit on that one.

I know that some of you will find that last statement a bit aggressive, but it is really not meant to be. It is really simply just the truth. She is almost 10 now and the insane pickiness has continued.

I fully realize that there are quite a few children with medical conditions that are picky eaters. And that is unfortunate, but seems to just be another part of their diagnoses. My daughter doesn’t have any medical conditions. She is just plain stubborn!


When she was a baby and was breastfed, I used to work one day a week for about 6 hours. My mom would watch her while I was working, which was a great help to me. I pumped, just like I did with my son, so that I could have some breast milk for her during these times. She simply would not take it. She would scream bloody murder and cry and push the bottle away.

Both my mother and myself are pretty good with kids (seeing as we have both had some, which helps!) and neither of us could get her to calm down and take it. We tried multiple times. I even tried holding my daughter, starting her off on the breast and then switching to the bottle. She was NOT having any of that nonsense!

So it got to the point where my mom would have to drive to my office and sit with me in the parking lot while I fed the baby in the car, because that was the ONLY way we could get her to eat.

Once she was introduced to baby food, it wasn’t any better. So as you can see, she has been very vocal about her food choices since birth and the stubbornness hasn’t faded one bit.

Attempts to Change

I have tried a myriad of things throughout the years to help get her accustomed to new and exciting foods. Or even things like strawberries! Here are a few of the things I have implemented to try and get her to see outside her narrow food box:

  • Farmer’s Market every Saturday to find new foods to try as a family
  • Taking her to the grocery store on the big shop and telling her to pick out one new thing to try, or I will pick one out for her
  • Making all kids try everything on their plate
  • Having her help me make new dishes and give input
  • Letting her try my food (when and if I can get her to do that)
  • Talking about the health benefits (I know, I know…their eyes start to glaze over)
  • Trying new dishes when we travel

Some of these have worked for a short period of time and other’s have not been as successful. But I have learned that is the secret to parenting. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but no matter what, you have to give it a good old college try!

Picky Eater Results

So where do we stand now? Well, she is still a ridiculously picky eater. There are days when she will look at me and tell me she hates something that she just ate yesterday. What? I feel like the logic and reason fly out the window with her sometimes. But we do have some small wins, in that she has finally started eating:

  • Brussel Sprouts (grocery store trip)
  • Pineapple (in my smoothie on vacation)
  • Mango (also in my smoothie on vacation)
  • Orange Juice (the other kids like it and also in my smoothie)
  • Ground Flaxseed (she tried it in my muffins and pancakes)
  • Parsnips – sometimes (roasted with potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli)

Sneaky Food

These all came about in different ways, but they came about and for that I am grateful. However, since her list of fruits and veggies she will eat is so limited, I get creative. Here are some of the things that I hide other foods in and she very rarely catches me:

  1. Smoothie – I put super green food powder, frozen bananas and protein powder in my smoothies when she is not looking and she loves them. But if she catches me doing it, she won’t touch it with a 10′ pole!Smoothie Love
  2. Vegetarian Chili – I put the same super green food powder in it along with fire roasted tomatoes. She says that my chili is the only one that she likes, even though she hates tomatoes and has absolutely no clue about the super green food powder. I call that a win!Vegetarian Chili
  3. Pancakes and Muffins – I always put protein powder and ground flaxseed in my pancakes and muffins. Sometimes I sneak mushed up banana in, because I don’t use any sweeteners in these, and she loves it. As long as she doesn’t bust me! Pancakes

Having a child that is a picky eater is really difficult on the whole family, but we are making efforts to help diversify her palate so that hopefully she won’t be a picky eater as an adult also. If we keep at it, she will eventually become less picky, we hope! But only time will tell, I suppose.

Do you have a picky eater in your family? What are some things that you have done to try and help with that?

Having a picky eater in the house can be a bit of a problem sometimes. Throughout the years, we have figured out a few ways to get around this pickiness. But nothing is perfect!