dinners for picky eaters


  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding picky eaters
  3. Challenges faced by parents of picky eaters
  4. Strategies to encourage picky eaters to try new foods
  5. Creative dinner ideas for picky eaters
    • H1: Finger foods for picky eaters
      • H2: Mini sliders with hidden veggies
      • H2: Chicken nuggets with homemade dipping sauces
      • H2: Veggie-filled quesadillas
    • H1: Fun-themed dinners for picky eaters
      • H2: Build-your-own pizza night
      • H2: Taco Tuesday with a twist
      • H2: Pasta bar with different sauces and toppings
    • H1: Sneaky ways to incorporate healthy ingredients
      • H2: Hidden vegetable pasta sauce
      • H2: Smoothies with hidden fruits and vegetables
      • H2: Baked goods with hidden veggies or fruits
  6. Tips for creating a positive eating environment
  7. Conclusion

Dinners for Picky Eaters

Dinner time can be a real challenge for parents of picky eaters. It can feel frustrating and overwhelming when your child refuses to eat anything but their limited repertoire of favorite foods. However, with some creativity and persistence, you can turn dinner time into a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your picky eater. In this article, we will explore strategies and dinner ideas that are sure to please even the fussiest of eaters.

Understanding Picky Eaters

Picky eaters are often described as children who are highly selective about the foods they eat. They may have strong preferences for certain tastes, textures, or colors, and they often reject anything unfamiliar or new. This selective eating behavior can be a phase that many children go through, but for some, it can persist into adolescence and adulthood. It is important to understand that picky eating is usually not a reflection of the parent’s cooking skills or the child’s overall health.

Challenges Faced by Parents of Picky Eaters

Parents of picky eaters face numerous challenges when it comes to mealtime. They may worry about their child’s nutrition and growth, struggle to find foods their child will eat, and feel pressure from others to have their child eat a wider variety of foods. Mealtime can become a battleground, leading to stress and tension within the family.

Strategies to Encourage Picky Eaters to Try New Foods

Encouraging picky eaters to try new foods requires patience, persistence, and a positive approach. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Offer a variety of foods: Introduce new foods alongside familiar ones to increase the chances of acceptance.
  2. Be a role model: Show your child that you enjoy eating a variety of foods and be enthusiastic about trying new things yourself.
  3. Make food fun: Present food in creative and appealing ways, such as arranging them into shapes or using vibrant colors.
  4. Involve your child in meal planning and preparation: Letting your child choose a new vegetable or help prepare a meal can increase their interest and willingness to try it.
  5. Don’t force or bribe: Forcing or bribing your child to eat a certain food can create negative associations with that food. Instead, offer it in a relaxed and non-pressured manner.

Creative Dinner Ideas for Picky Eaters

Now, let’s dive into some creative dinner ideas that are perfect for picky eaters. These ideas focus on offering a variety of flavors and textures while still catering to your child’s preferences.

Finger Foods for Picky Eaters

Picky eaters often prefer finger foods that they can easily pick up and eat. Here are some ideas to try:

Mini Sliders with Hidden Veggies

Make mini sliders using lean ground meat mixed with finely chopped vegetables. The veggies will be hidden inside the slider, providing added nutrition without your child even realizing it. Serve them with mini buns and let your child pick their favorite toppings.

Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Dipping Sauces

Make homemade chicken nuggets using boneless, skinless chicken breast coated in a mixture of bread crumbs and seasonings. Bake them until golden and serve with a variety of homemade dipping sauces, such as honey mustard, BBQ, or ranch. Let your child dip their nuggets and explore different flavors.

Veggie-Filled Quesadillas

Make quesadillas filled with a mix of cheese and finely chopped vegetables. You can add spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, or any other veggies your child prefers. Serve with a side of salsa or guacamole for added flavor.

Fun-Themed Dinners for Picky Eaters

Creating a fun-themed dinner can make mealtime exciting and engaging for picky eaters. Here are a few ideas to try:

Build-Your-Own Pizza Night

Set up a pizza bar with different toppings like cheese, pepperoni, bell peppers, olives, and mushrooms. Let your child assemble their own personal pizza and watch it bake in the oven. This activity allows them to be involved in the process and increases their interest in trying new toppings.

Taco Tuesday with a Twist

Instead of traditional tacos, offer a variety of fillings like shredded chicken, ground beef, and black beans. Provide a selection of toppings, such as diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, and sour cream. Let your child build their own tacos and explore different combinations.

Pasta Bar with Different Sauces and Toppings

Cook different types of pasta and offer a selection of sauces, such as marinara, Alfredo, and pesto. Add toppings like grated cheese, diced tomatoes, and cooked vegetables. Your child can customize their pasta bowl and experiment with different flavors.

Sneaky Ways to Incorporate Healthy Ingredients

Sometimes, it’s necessary to be a little sneaky when it comes to picky eaters. Here are some ideas to incorporate healthy ingredients without your child even realizing it:

Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Make a homemade pasta sauce using pureed vegetables like carrots, zucchini, or butternut squash. The vegetables will add extra nutrients and fiber to the sauce, but won’t alter the taste significantly. Serve it over your child’s favorite pasta.

Smoothies with Hidden Fruits and Vegetables

Blend together a combination of fruits and vegetables with Greek yogurt or milk to create a nutritious smoothie. Use colorful fruits like berries and tropical fruits to mask the taste of the vegetables. Your child will enjoy the sweet flavors without realizing they’re also getting their daily dose of veggies.

Baked Goods with Hidden Veggies or Fruits

Add grated carrots, zucchini, or apples to baked goods like muffins or bread. The fruits or vegetables will add moisture and natural sweetness, making the baked goods more appealing to your picky eater.

Tips for Creating a Positive Eating Environment

In addition to offering creative dinner ideas, it is important to create a positive eating environment for your picky eater. Here are some tips:

  • Set a regular mealtime routine and avoid distractions like screens or toys.
  • Create a pleasant atmosphere by having conversations and playing soft background music.
  • Use positive reinforcement and praise your child for trying new foods, even if they only take a small bite.
  • Avoid making negative comments or pressuring your child to eat. This can create a negative association with mealtime and further reinforce picky eating habits.


Dealing with a picky eater can be challenging, but with patience, creativity, and a positive approach, you can overcome the dinner time battles. By understanding your child’s preferences and using creative dinner ideas, you can make mealtime enjoyable for your picky eater while also ensuring they receive proper nutrition. Remember to create a positive eating environment and celebrate small victories along the way. With time, your picky eater may surprise you by expanding their palate and trying new foods.

Custom Message: Thank you for reading our article on dinners for picky eaters. We hope you found it helpful and inspiring. Remember, every child is unique, and it’s important to be patient and understanding when dealing with picky eating habits. Happy cooking!

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