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Picky eaters, they can be frustrating. There are strategies that can help. Check out these healthy snacks for picky eaters. And more toddler meals for picky eaters too!
I’ve been in childcare for over 20 years and I have seen it all when it comes to picky eating. I’ve even had kids that only ate one food group or only 2 things! Some kids come and only eat a handful of foods, but over time, I help them learn to like far more.
Check out this daycare food menu meal planning guide for more ideas on how to plan out your menus well. These resources are going to be a great help to you! And if you want to buy menus already planned out, check out Daycare Time Solutions for monthly menu plans, click on shop all and menu plans for menus that meet food program requirements. Or if you want a sheet with a sample week and shopping list to get you started, check out this planning pack.
It takes a lot of patience to let kids experiment with food at their own pace. I can promise you that if you try to force them to like more, it’s not going to work. The more pressure you put on kids to eat, the more stressful it is to them and the less likely they are to try anything.
For quick and easy dinners that are healthy, check this post out.
I used to be a picky eater myself and I have many sensory issues. I feel like a ton of what makes kids picky has to do with sensory issues. Eating was a battle growing up and I remember getting in trouble over food quite often.
When I first started watching kids and I had a child that didn’t want to eat peas, I had the one bite rule. Try a bite and I’ll let you have whatever you want. Okay, she’s going to give it a try. She puts the peas in her mouth and vomits all over the table. Lesson learned, there was more going on for her mentally than being naughty and not wanting to try peas.
I had to come to terms with the root of my own eating issues and continue to study and learn about what causes these things.
Rules for feeding picky eaters
Don’t nag, force, cajole or make kids eat. If they don’t want it, it’s their body. They are allowed to be hungry. I used to get so upset about that, but kids will eat when they are hungry. Sometimes they just aren’t.
Don’t give kids junk food between meals. Lots of kids are iron tough and will hold out all day for “snack time” if they know snack is cookies. If cookies are what they want, they don’t mind.
Don’t give kids something else if they don’t like what you’re making. If you make a bowl of pasta for a child with every dinner as a side dish, they aren’t going to learn to like meat and veggies.
Don’t talk about eating everything, happy plates, or anything else that puts pressure on kids to eat all their food. I can attest to the fact that this can cause eating disorders. That’s not what we need.
Don’t give kids big portions. Toddlers portions and preschooler portions are smaller than you might think. Check out how much your kids should be eating here.
Make mealtimes pleasant. Eat at the table and have pleasant conversation. Teach kids to sit with everyone until they are done eating.
If you want to see more tips for how to get kids to try more healthy foods, click on the highlighted text.
Healthy snack ideas
There are a ton of things you can try for snacks that are healthy. What food group is your child’s favorite? If they are a carb lover like many picky eaters are, try adding healthy food to their carbs. Make banana bread with hidden veggies. Switch their bread to whole wheat and spread on some peanut butter and top with bananas or raisins. Make small changes that add up to a lot.
Here is a list of healthy snacks for picky eaters that most of my picky eaters have loved:
- Hulk Smoothies-Toss a handful of spinach into your favorite smoothie recipes and turn it green. You’re adding nutrients and calling it a hulk smoothie makes it more desirable.
- Check out these healthy smoothies
- Apples and peanut butter. Spread it on or let them dip it.
- Yogurt pops
- Fruit Kabobs-kids love anything on a stick
- Keep it simple with plain fruit. Grapes, bananas, apple slices and things like that may seem simple, but kids really do love them.
- Yogurt parfait
- Dried fruit-especially raisins and dried cherries
- Flavored oatmeal
- Banana bread
- Frozen grapes-many times kids will like something even more when frozen
- Slushy peaches. Freeze some fresh peaches in the summer. Take them out in winter and partially thaw them. So yummy.
- Cheese sticks
- Cheese quesadillas
- Pizza cups
- Whole wheat bread with peanut butter
- Whole grain cereal
- Cottage cheese
- Homemade hot pockets
- Sausage balls
- Tortilla rolls ups. You can make these in a million combinations. Spread them with peanut butter or cream cheese, roll up a banana, or add some cheese and meat slices. Just about anything is good inside a tortilla. I’ve had cream cheese and pickles rolled up in a tortilla and it’s great. Add thinly sliced veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers. It’s a real hit!
Check out these super cute pig yogurt bowls. Every kid would want this!
Picky toddler snacks
For more healthy snacks for picky eaters, click on the recipes below.
- Homemade beef jerky
- Star Pizza
- Savory Muffins
- Apple Chips
- Quinoa Bites
- Creamy Edamame Dip
- Oatmeal Cranberry Muffins
- Potato Cakes
- Homemade Goldfish Crackers
- Fruit Dipped in Cinnamon Yogurt Dip
- Pumpkin Bread
- Cheese and Veggie Nuggets
- Pretty Beetroot Hummus
- Banana Blueberry Oat Wholegrain Muffins
- Slow Cooker Applesauce
- Crispy Green Bean Chips
With plenty of patience and understanding, you can get any kid to like more foods. Just remember it takes 11 times of being introduced to a new food before it’s not new anymore. Finding healthy snacks for picky eaters can be a challenge sometimes but this list is going to help a lot. Your kids will be healthier and better off for your efforts in the long run. You got this!
For more picky eating help, check these out:
- Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Picky Eaters
- Healthy Dinner Recipes for Picky Eaters
- Top 10 Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters
- Meatless Meals for Picky Eaters
- Getting Picky Kids to Eat Healthy with Hidden Vegetables
More meal inspiration for kids