10 Proven Ways to Please Your Prechooler’s Picky Palate

BarbChild Development, Children's Health, Preschool Behavior

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As Johnny grew into a toddler, he was learning lots of new skills like walking, talking, and climbing. His mom noticed that he only wanted to eat certain foods probably because they made him feel more secure.

Johnny’s fussy eating habits all started when he was one.  He had started feeding himself more and became insistent on eating only certain foods.  His mom knew he needed a more balanced diet so she tried to introduce foods like beans, mashed potatoes, anything that he could eat easily with the few baby teeth he had. After trying several foods with no luck, Johnny’s mom just gave up. Now she had a preschooler who was a picky eater. How would she ever please her preschooler’s picky palate?

How to Please Your Preschooler’s Picky Palate

  1. Understand that your food preferences affect what your child will eat.

    Make sure that you are eating a variety of nutritious foods you want your child to eat. The key is making your child familiar with new foods because young children need to be exposed to a new food at least 10 to 15 times before they will try it.

    2.  Let your little one get involved in the meal preparation.

    By doing this, you are increasing the likelihood that he will taste what he is making.

    3. Don’t show disgust for a food in front of your child with your words, facial expressions, or body language.

    Your child may also become picky about eating that food.

    4. At every meal include a healthy food your child does like along with the new food.

    Gently encourage your child to touch, smell, lick, or taste the new food. Don’t force the child to eat it.

    5. Be observant of your child’s food likes and dislikes.

    If your child doesn’t like “mushy” foods, try more sliced options. For instance, substitute apple slices for applesauce or a baked potato for a mashed one.

    6. Don’t get into the habit of making special meals for your child.

    Let him eat what everyone else is consuming in a smaller serving.

    7. If your child has a sweet or spicy tooth, use healthy dips that match those tastes.

    Have your children dip their vegetables, fruits, and meats into yogurt, hummus, ketchup, mustard, or low-fat salad dressings.

    8. For the child who wants to feed himself, include finger foods that he can easily pick up himself and eat.

    9. If you have a child who eats four tablespoons of his dinner and then wants a cookie or piece of candy, serve a small portion of it with his dinner.

    Allow him to eat it first or only eat that. In time, he will understand that sweets are part of the meal but not the only part.

    10. Resist negotiating food with your child.

    “If you eat your dinner completely, I’ll give you some ice cream.”  “Just eat two more bites.” You will avoid a big power struggle and defeat your purpose.


    The more familiar a child becomes with a food, the more likely he will eat it. Remember that your child will usually need to see a new food 10 to 15 times before he will try it. Give your child easy tasks involving handling the food when you are preparing the meal. This will increase his likelihood of eating what he makes. Finally, be a good role model and don’t show any negative feelings toward a food in front of your child. Use these ten tips to please your preschooler’s picky palate.

    If you are concerned about your child’s nutrition or growth, consult with his doctor. Remember, though, that as long as he has energy for growth and he is not losing weight, there’s generally no reason for concern.

    Chappell Schools of Jacksonville, Florida has been providing child care and preschool learning programs for 55+ years. Our educational programs address the TOTAL child – cognitively, emotionally, physically, and socially. We pride ourselves on being voted one of the “Top 50 For-Profit Child Care Organizations in North America.”  Visit one of our eight centers to see how we make learning fun by contacting us at 904.739.1279.  To get  more child care tips, please “Like” our Facebook page. 


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Barb10 Proven Ways to Please Your Prechooler’s Picky Palate