Although some children readily eat a variety of different foods, there are many who are very choosy about what they eat. Here are some tips to make meal-times easier.


Providing meals in a supportive, comfortable, emotionally satisfying environment will promote better behavior during meal-times. For predictability, parents should set the time and place and establish appropriate limits, and stick with them.

If the child tends to have tantrums, it is advisable to ignore them as much as possible, while assuring the child’s safety. This often means using a calm, soft, assured tone of voice, and continuing with whatever activity was going on.


Some children may prefer raw vs cooked vegetables or a crunchy vs soft texture. Also, try varying shapes and colors. If possible, ask the child how you can make the food better, such as hotter or colder, or more spicy or less spicy. Sometimes a small adjustment will make an item more appealing.

If the child does not want vegetables, try adding a dip on the side. Also remember that fruit provides similar nutrients as vegetables and may be more appealing to the child.

If the child eats only a few different foods, provide those foods, but also offer small amounts of new and nutritious foods along with the meal. It is not necessary to provide a balanced diet every day, but over the course of a few weeks, it should be possible to do so.

It may help to introduce new things after the child has been active and has a bigger appetite. If the child seems to have a small appetite, keep in mind that may be all the child needs to eat. Also, children’s intake naturally varies from day to day and meal to meal.