4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Feeding Picky Eaters

Updated on July 21, 2018
Kate Mom of 4 profile image

Kate is a homeschooling mom of four kids, ranging in age from six to 17.

There are some common mistakes parents tend to make when dealing with kids that are picky eaters. While it can be frustrating when your kids don't like half of the things you prepare, that does not mean you should just make them what they want or try to barter with them to eat certain foods.

Here are some common mistakes to try to avoid when dealing with a picky eater:

1. Making a Separate Meal For Picky Eaters

A very common mistake that is often made is making your kids a separate meal. You may do this because you love your kids and just want them to eat.

It is extremely tempting to make them a sandwich because they don't want to eat the chicken dinner you prepared, but this is only encouraging their picky eating habits. They know they can turn down anything they want since you will cook them something else they like better.

Stop being a short order cook and have a rule that they will eat what everyone else is eating when meal time comes.

2. Offering Dessert as a Reward

Many parents do find this to be helpful, but if you have been offering dessert as a reward for finishing a meal, you might want to re-think your approach.

There are certain ages where it might be a good option, but if your kids get into the habit of having dessert as a reward for eating their vegetables, they might stop eating them if you don't have dessert that night. This is where the main issue with bartering with your kids to eat comes in.

It also sends them the message that certain foods are inherently better than others, and you want them to learn to appreciate healthy foods too.

3. Forcing Your Kids to Eat Everything Before Leaving the Table

This is something that has been done for decades, but it is yet another bad habit you may want to consider breaking.

A better option might be to let your kids leave the table when they're finished eating, but not offer anything else in return.

Forcing your kids to eat by making them sit there and eat everything isn't always the best approach. They might challenge you by sitting there as long as possible, then feel like they "won" when it is bedtime and you finally let them get up.

This can cause their rebellious nature to kick in to high gear and see how much they can challenge you each night. Making the dinner table a battle field is never fun.

Don't force them to eat, but also don't let them eat anything else if they eat their dinner. Eventually, they will realize to have full bellies, they need to eat their vegetables too.

4. Not Including Them in the Meal Planning or Cooking

It is a great idea to include your kids more in the meal planning process. If there is a particular vegetable your son just can't stand, ask him what vegetables he does like.

Then be sure to include at least some of his preferred vegetables as often as possible. This will help ensure he eats his veggies and you'll have much fewer problems when dinner time comes around.

You Can Do This!

There's no doubt that having a child who is a picky eater can be very challenging. By continuing to try to stretch their food repertoire while trying to avoid these common mistakes, you can help your child develop healthier eating habits and avoid those meal time battles.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Kate Mom of 4 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Smith 

      2 years ago from Canada

      That's amazing Martiya! The culinary class should be very helpful in getting him to be a bit more adventurous with his eating.

    • martiya profile image


      2 years ago from Florida

      *sigh* yes, I have a very picky eater! Including him in the meal planning and cooking has helped. Even better, he actually asked to take culinary as an elective in school!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)