Picky Eater Tips for Toddlers to Tweens

Picky Eaters – the rumors are real. First of all, getting your kids to try new things seems like one of the hardest parts of parenting. I mean, it’s our job to keep these little boogers alive from daylight ’til dark and how are we supposed to do that with a diet of Fruity Pebbles and the inside dough of dinner rolls?

[clickToTweet tweet=”With picky eaters, it’s a challenge to serve a stress-free family dinner without Mom being a short order cook and constantly googling Symptoms of Child Starvation. ” quote=”With picky eaters, it’s a challenge to serve a stress-free family dinner without Mom being a short order cook and constantly googling Symptoms of Child Starvation. “]

Furthermore, it is next to impossible and to find picky eater recipes that please them from one meal to the next.

When they do find something they like, you hope you can keep it on the “good” list. But trying to get them to try Brussels sprouts or peas when they already act like anything green or orange might be possibly NUCLEAR is a tough trick!

With picky eaters, it’s a challenge to serve a stress-free family dinner without Mom being a short order cook and constantly googling Symptoms of Child Starvation.

Here are some helpful picky eater tips for getting your kids to try new things. Like everything else, it’s trial and error; most of all, be brave, persistent and give yourself a break!


fruit bites threaded on skewers
Healthy, colorful fruit bites threaded on a skewer and served with a yogurt dip can reform a picky eater


Create Fun Names For the Food

Creating fun names for new foods you want your kids to eat can work great with younger picky eaters. Toddlers might hate the look of broccoli and the sound of it isn’t that appealing either, but if you call them ‘little trees’, which they definitely look like, they might become more interested in them.

Whenever you are serving a new vegetable or fruit, try to think of a fun and cute name that might be a little bit more – even something silly might do the trick!


homemade kid size corndogs
Kid Size your hot dogs, dip them in the homemade batter and watch your picky eater go!

Give Them a Little Independence

 Sometimes you just need to be patient.

Try serving the food often, in small portions and wait for your kids to try it on their own. It may not seem like it now, but your child will keep seeing the same food on their plate and eventually get curious and try it.

There are numerous benefits to giving them a little time. When they try it and like it on their own, it fosters self-confidence – they made their own choice and it turned out great!

With a little luck, this picky eater tip will pay off and they will have found a new food they enjoy that is also good for them. And (fingers-crossed!!) the new found self-confidence and success could lead to more healthy choices! Mom Win!

Present New Foods to Picky Eaters in a Different Way

Another picky eater tip for parents is to try new things by presenting the new food in a completely different way than they have refused before. You can try to cut the vegetables into one of those cute bento boxes. Put the brand new fruit on skewers like kebobs. When kids have food presented in a colorful or creative manner, they are often more inclined to give it a try.

If you are trying a new vegetable, don’t separate it on the plate – highlighting the unfamiliar can be a disaster!

If they already like corn, slip a few bites of carrot around. Even if it is an unconventional pairing, pretty colors, similar tastes and textures (sweet, smooth, savory) might maybe a bite or two will make it.

kiwi, pineapple and orange served in a martini glass
beautifully colored fruit served in a special dish can be fun for kids

Hiding Vegetables in Other Foods – Yes or No?

There are many ways to hide vegetables in other food, but if you do so for any other reason but legitimate health concerns, you run the risk of your picky eater still refusing new things.

Even if they don’t catch the taste difference, they won’t see that they enjoyed something new! And you lose the chance to praise and encourage them for good choices!




Equal numbers of:

Large raspberries or small strawberries

Clementine orange segments


Kiwi pieces cut into shapes if desired

Large purple grapes

1 cup of vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles


Thread a raspberry, orange, pineapple, kiwi and grape onto each of 12 small skewers.

Place the vanilla yogurt in a bowl and top with sprinkles. Serve alongside the skewers for dipping.

Original Recipe –

oven fried chicken fingers with dipping sauce
Healthy oven fried chicken fingers are a hit with picky eaters



1½ lbs chicken tenders

3 cups cornflakes, crushed

⅓ cup mayo

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper


Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put chicken tenders in a bowl, add mayo to them, then toss with your hands to coat chicken with mayo all over.

Put the cornflake crumbs on a plate. Dip each chicken tender in cornflake crumbs, pressing into the crumbs so the chicken is coated with crumbs all over. Put breaded chicken on a baking sheet in a single layer, so the pieces are not touching.

Sprinkle the breaded chicken with salt and pepper.

Put the chicken on the top oven rack and bake for 20 minutes, or until the oven-fried chicken is cooked through.

Original Recipe –

croissants stuffed with mozzarella and pepperoni
Refrigerated croissants stuffed with mozzarella and pepperoni are a delicious alternative to frozen pizza




2 packages Pillsbury crescent rolls

8 mozzarella cheese sticks cut in 1/2 (creating 16 pieces)

1 package pepperoni

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 egg

Marinara (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine garlic powder,oregano and basil in small bowl.

Beat egg in small bowl.

Remove crescent rolls from package. Starting with the wide end place mozzarella stick on the end, place pepperonis along the surface of the crescent roll. Starting with the widest end roll into the most narrow end. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with seasoning and brush with beaten egg.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara if desired.

Original Post –



1 pound ground meat (beef, turkey, and/or pork)

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

⅛ t. red pepper flakes

10 lasagna noodles, broken in 2 inch pieces

28 ounces diced tomatoes, with water added to make 4 cups

8 ounces tomato sauce

½ cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

1 cup ricotta cheeese

Fresh basil and additional Parmesan cheese for garnish


Brown the meat, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes in a 12 inch skillet.

Leave in the bottom of skillet and place the broken lasagna noodles on top.

Pour the diced tomatoes with water and tomato sauce over noodles.

Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook about 20 minutes until noodles are tender. Stir occasionally. Add more water if necessary.

Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

Dot with tablespoons of ricotta cheese.

Cover and let set for 5 minutes so the ricotta cheese warms.

Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and a little Parmesan.


Because of the simple ingredients in this recipe, quality will make a difference in the flavor! If you can, use good tomatoes, real Parmesan, etc

My family protests large chunks of tomatoes, so I use petite diced. You could also use Italian style diced tomatoes for additional flavor.





1 pkg of Hot Dogs

1½ cups corn meal

1 cup all purpose flour – for batter mix

½ tsp cayenne pepper

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1¼ cup milk

Vegetable oil, for frying

extra flour for dusting hot dogs


Using a deep fryer heat oil to 375ºF or on stove top add 4 inches of oil to a medium to large, heavy-bottomed stock pot. Attach the deep-fry thermometer then heat the oil over medium-high heat until the thermometer reaches 375ºF.

Cut each hot dog in half then insert a stick into the cutoff end of each hot dog. Thoroughly dry off the hot dogs with paper towels.

Lightly dust each hot dog with all purpose flour. Do not go heavy on dusting. This will make your batter not stick to your hot dogs.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, cayenne pepper, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined using a spoon or spatula.

Dip each hot dog in the batter until it’s completely coated, lightly shake off the excess. Lower it into the hot oil. Fry the corn dog until golden and crispy, about 3 – 4 minutes, then transfer it to the paper towel-lined plate.



parmesan roasted green beans
Parmesan Roasted Green Beans get their pleasing taste from the caramelized natural sugars during roasting


• 1 pound fresh green beans
• 1/4 cup Olive Oil
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated fine
• salt and pepper to taste
• Preheat oven to 400°
• Wash your fresh bean thoroughly.
• Snap off the ends (or cut them).
• Place your green beans in a large bowl.
• Pour in your olive oil
• Stir to coat the green beans completely.
• Add your Parmesan cheese.
• Coat the beans with the Parmesan cheese.
• Spray 2 jelly roll trays with non-stick spray.
• Place your green beans on the tray, keeping space between the beans.
• Roast the green beans in your oven at 400° for 20 minutes until your beans are brown; turn (or
at least stir) your green beans at the 10 minute mark to facilitate even browning


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *