If you have a fussy eater, then you’ll need and want some picky eating resources to help you choose nutritious foods, feed positively, and shepherd your selective eater to new foods.
Finding the Right Picky Eating Resources
Picky eating resources seem to be everywhere, but the really good ones can be hard to find.
Turn on your computer, search for “picky eating,” and you’ll get hundreds of thousands of results. So many of them, you may feel overwhelmed.
Of course, the major outlets like Parenting, Parents magazine, WebMD, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have resources that pop up, but I went searching for unique, compelling content that goes beyond the “routine picky eating advice.”
Because, after all, if you’re in the thick of it, you’ve probably heard all the usual tricks and you’re looking for something different.
I am simplifying the whole process for you. As a child nutrition expert, I’m summarizing what I believe to be some of the best advice on the web.
I wish I could tell you one post or book summarizes everything you need to know, but I can’t.
The Best Picky Eating Resources Around
My best advice is what I give to my kids when they are gathering new information: look at a lot of resources, pick the most helpful advice, register the other stuff for later (in case you need it), and formulate a plan that’s right for you.
1. From Picky to Powerful
From Picky to Powerful is an e-book written by Maryann Jacobsen, author of Raise Healthy Eaters and my co-author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School.
Jacobsen does a good job of digging into the reasons why children are picky, and aims to change the way parents think about picky eating. Her rationale: if parents think about picky eating in a positive way, they are less likely to battle with their child and intervene in negative ways, which can make picky eating worse for everyone.
2. Tactics from a Former Picky Eater
Sally over at Real Mom Nutrition takes a different tactic. She outlines some clever strategies to please her own picky eater. What parent of a picky eater doesn’t need a list of strategies to try? Two that spoke to me were to puree onions so no obvious pieces show up in recipes and to use white pepper (so long black flakes in food!). Check them out–there’s a good chance one or two may work for you!
3. When You’re in the Thick of It
Katie, who is in the thick of it with her kids right now, shares her advice over at Mom to Mom Nutrition on handling picky eaters. One piece of advice that I like is to serve food “their way:” separate food if your child doesn’t like it to touch another food, deconstruct a casserole dish if your little one isn’t into mixed dishes (which many kids are not!), or just cut it up differently.
4. Fearless Feeding
Fearless Feeding also offers up picky eating advice, including why kids are picky, when they should be growing out of it, which feeding practices are counter-productive (read: they make picky eating worse), and simple approaches to sail through it, relatively unscathed. We also offer guidance on how to recognize picky eating that’s beyond typical.
5. The Extreme Picky Eater
For the child who is more than typically picky, or who has failed typical strategies or even therapeutic interventions, you need Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating, written by Katja Rowell and Jenny McGlothlin. This book gets beyond the pat advice standard to picky eating and digs into research-supported strategies for the extremely picky eater.
6. Knowing Why Your Child Won’t Eat
Kids choose not to eat for many reasons and other things can be going on in addition to, or even instead of, picky eating. Make sure you have a grasp on why your child won’t eat. It might not be picky eating, but something else that needs a different approach or medical attention.
7. Stop Focusing on Food
It’s Not About the Broccoli is another resource that helps parents keep kids’ eating in perspective. Penned by Dina Rose, this book aims to set up healthy habits so kids learn to eat health-fully over time and make the healthy choice by taking a different approach: removing the focus from food and placing it on teaching the habits of proportion, variety, and moderation.
8. The How of Introducing New Food
Sometimes it’s all in how you introduce new food to kids. Check out my series, How to Introduce New Food to Children, which gives you some ground rules to follow, practical strategies, and an at-home approach for feeding new foods to kids, whether they are picky or not. If you need to dig in further, check out my workbook Try New Food!
9. Flavor Instead of Food Value
Karen Le Billon has a few things to say about helping picky eaters in her two books on feeding children, but this is one of my favorites:
Talk less about health, and more about good tastes. In France, parents don’t cajole with nutritional information (such as explanations that a food has a lot of iron or calcium). Parents say: “Taste this, it’s really yummy”, rather than “Eat this: it’s good for you.” They believe (and tell their children), that good-for-you foods taste good. Healthy eating habits are a happy byproduct. Broccoli? Yum!
10. Mealtime Works by Alisha Grogan
Alisha has a picky eating program for parents that helps them understand the four main reasons kids are picky, including sensory sensitivities, and helps them navigate her two-step process for helping kids eat more nutritious foods.
She also has a focused sensory workshop that helps you better understand your child’s approach to food.
What are your favorite picky eating go-to resources?