How to Deal with Picky Eaters – My Personal Experience as a Mom of Two

My first born child was a picky eater. It came to a point when we had to sit at the dinner table for two hours just so he could finish his food. So when our second baby was born I was determined not to make the same mistake. When Zack turned 6 months we started introducing him to cereals. We had a good start. He seemed to like his cereals.

But that didn’t last long. Soon he would eat less and less. Afraid that he wouldn’t get the nutrition he needed I began prodding him to eat more. It backfired badly. Pretty soon he didn’t even want to sit on his chair. Then I realized I was doing the exact same thing I did with my firstborn. So I changed my approach right away. Now, my baby is 1 year old. I can proudly say he is a happy eater. His last meal was a plate full of a combination of spaghetti, corn, and banana. I couldn’t be  happier. I shudder when I think that I am just a few actions away from turning my second child into another picky eater.

Picky Eater Recipes

Picky eaters are made. If you are looking for picky eater recipes or food for picky eaters you are just fueling this behavior. I didn’t cook any special food for my children. I just changed my approach. Remember my first born who had the unfortunate luck of being born to a first time mother? I applied what I learned with him and he’s now a happy eater too. Since I can’t go to one of the California culinary schools anytime soon, I have come up with my own tips.

How to deal with Picky Eaters

When my baby had a bout with viral infection he ate even less. Our doctor said to make him eat anything he wants. “Well, he seemed to like french fries,” I muttered. “Then do it!” the doctor ordered. I cringed. The last thing I wanted to do was to feed my baby greasy french fries. But I had no choice so I did. He ate it. We were saved from a large bill from the hospital. And this mom learned an important lesson. So how did I deal with my picky eaters?

  1. Throw away the spoon. Let your baby eat with his hands. He loves putting things in his mouth anyway. It’s going to be messy for sure but that’s just a small sacrifice on your part.
  2. Serve picky eaters their favorite food. Is there one particular food he likes? Chicken nuggets, hotdogs, spaghetti, or fries? Then serve it to him everyday, every meal. Don’t worry about the nutrients he’s getting. This is just a start. In order for him to like eating he must associate it with something good first like seeing his favorite meals served at the dinner table.
  3. Ignore leftovers.  He’s eating his favorites but there are leftovers. Ignore it. When he he’s full, respect it. It doesn’t matter if he only ate half on his plate. Chances are he’ll be back for more. It could be an hour later or maybe two but he’ll be hungry again. 90% of the time he is and would gladly eat again.
  4. Mix old with the new. The best way to introduce new (read: healthy) food is if it’s paired with his favorites. For my baby I would serve sliced banana (his all time fave) mixed with sliced papaya. Yesterday he threw the papaya but today one slice landed in his mouth. It’s a small success but in time I know he’s going to love it. For older children you’ll have to be more patient. It may take ten tries but it’s worth it.
  5. Set a good example. Yesterday, my eldest son declared, “I miss eating ampalaya (bitter gourd). Can we have that for tomorrow, Mommy?” I was so shocked I was actually speechless for a few seconds. How did my picky eater child become an ampalaya eating alien? It actually had  something to do with his Dad whom he adored. Whenever we’re having vegetables he would loudly say, “Oh no, not vegetables!” When he realized how his behavior was affecting our son’s eating habits he began to change. Now he’ll say something positive like, “Wow, I love veggies!” and promptly have a serving. Our eldest was curious to hear something new from his dad. He didn’t eat ampalaya right away but he did allow me to put it in his plate. This incident happened just two months ago. Now you know how what happened next. 🙂
When it comes to eating your child is the boss. Serve them what they love to eat. Babies love to eat with their hands so use this to your advantage. If they’re happy and relaxed at mealtimes soon they will become more adventurous in trying out new food. That’s the most effective way to deal with picky eaters.


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7 thoughts on “How to Deal with Picky Eaters – My Personal Experience as a Mom of Two

  1. Winter

    This is inspiring. I have a picky-eater as well, but I’ve realized s/he’ll just get less nutrients if s/he ends up NOT eating at all. So I give her all the food she wants, but I just make it a point to give her baked fries instead of fried. And she eats it!

    1. admin Post author

      @Winter – Exactly! I am sad it took me so long before I realized that. haha! Oh I wish I have an oven too. Received your email re BC Bloggers. Hope you join. 🙂

  2. Jen

    My mom should have read this article! haha! I was a picky eater during my younger years and I can still remember how my mom forced me to eat vegetables and fruits! 😛 (I rarely eat fruits and I don’t like eating vegetables before) 😛

    1. admin Post author

      @Jen – I’m sure your mom was worried sick that’s why she forced you. Unfortunately, moms sometimes don’t know the right approach. It took me years to figure this out myself. haha

  3. Aileen

    I was probably a picky eater when I was a kid…but taste buds develop in time. I have never liked ampalaya until I was in my 20’s hahaha! I have three adorable nephews and you are right, they do get tired of their favorite foods at some point. It’s really a challenge.

  4. Maye Domencil

    Nice tips Mommy. I definitely agree that once you make eating a struggle it will always be a continuous battle between mom and child. One mistake moms always do is to feed her child food she herself don’t eat and I’m guilty of that too. Good thing my son is not a picky eater because he eats almost anything 🙂


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