Nurturing Healthy Eating Habits in Children: Tricks for Choosy Eaters

  • 14 Aug 2023

Guide to fostering healthy eating habits in kids: Tips to overcome picky eating and nurture balanced nutrition.


Parenting comes with its joys and challenges, and one of the everyday struggles is dealing with picky eaters. As caregivers, providing nutritious meals that support children's growth and development is essential. In this blog, we'll delve into healthy eating for kids and share simple yet effective strategies to encourage picky eaters to embrace various foods.

Understanding Picky Eating

Many children experience a picky eating phase, during which they may avoid trying new foods or certain textures. Although annoying, it's frequently a typical aspect of growing up. Children's tastes can change, so it's essential to be patient when assisting them in expanding their palate.

Tips for Fostering Healthy Eating Habits

  • Lead by Example: Children learn by observing. Set a positive example by enjoying a wide range of foods yourself. Let them see you savouring fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious options.
  • Create a Colorful Plate: Kids are drawn to vibrant colours. Incorporate a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on their plates to make meals visually appealing and exciting.
  • Make Meals Fun: Make mealtime fun by getting creative. Use cookie cutters for sandwich shapes, arrange food in playful patterns, or use colourful plates and utensils to add joy to eating.
  • Involve Them in Cooking: When kids help prepare meals, they're more likely to try what they've made. Let them mix, measure, and participate in age-appropriate cooking tasks.
  • Offer Variety: Introduce new foods alongside familiar ones. Gradually expand their palate by adding a different fruit or vegetable to each meal.
  • Be Patient: It can take several attempts for a child to accept a new food. Keep going if they initially reject it. Keep offering in small quantities without pressure.
  • Avoid Food Battles: Forcing or pressuring a child to eat can backfire. Create a positive mealtime environment where they can explore foods at their own pace.
  • Limit Distractions: Turn off screens during meals to help children focus on eating. This also encourages mindful eating habits.
  • Offer Dips and Sauces: Children often enjoy dipping foods. Offer a variety of healthy dips like hummus, yoghurt, or nut butter to make eating more interactive.
  • Respect Preferences: While encouraging variety, also acknowledge their preferences. Gradually introduce alternatives that align with their taste.
  • Stay Hydrated: Water is essential for overall health. Encourage water intake throughout the day to establish good hydration habits.
  • Be Creative with Presentation: Transform regular foods into exciting shapes or characters. Broccoli florets can become "trees," and sliced apples can resemble "wheels."

Common Nutrient Concerns

  • Calcium: Build strong bones and teeth by including dairy products, fortified plant-based milk, or calcium-rich foods like leafy greens and tofu.
  • Iron: Enhance energy levels with iron-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, beans, lentils, and fortified cereals.
  • Fibre: Support digestion by offering whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes rich in fibre.
  • Protein: Ensure proper growth with protein sources like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, and beans.


Navigating picky eating can be challenging, but with patience, creativity, and a positive attitude, you can guide your child toward embracing various healthy foods. You're laying the foundation for a lifetime of good eating habits by fostering a nurturing mealtime environment and offering nutrient-rich choices. Remember, each child's journey to a balanced diet is unique, and celebrating small victories along the way can make the process enjoyable for caregivers and children.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it normal for my child to be a picky eater?

Yes, picky eating is common among children. Their taste preferences can change with patience and exposure to different foods.

2. How can I introduce new foods to my child's diet?

Gradually introduce fresh foods alongside familiar ones. Offer a small portion without pressure, encouraging them to explore and taste.

3. How can I encourage my child to eat vegetables?

Offer vegetables in various forms – raw, cooked, blended, or hidden in dishes. Repeated exposure and positive reinforcement can help.

4. Are snacks okay for my child?

Yes, balanced snacks can be a part of a healthy diet. Choose nutrient-rich options like fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, or whole-grain crackers.

5. Is it okay for my child to have sweets and treats?

Occasional treats are fine in moderation. Balance is essential, so focus on providing a variety of nutrient-rich foods most of the time.

6. Should I worry about my child's weight?

Focus on healthy habits rather than weight. Offer nutritious foods, encourage regular physical activity, and consult a healthcare professional if concerned.

7. Can my child be a vegetarian or vegan?

With proper planning, a well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet can provide the necessary nutrients. Consult a paediatrician or registered dietitian for guidance.

8. Should I be concerned about my child's growth and development if they're picky eaters?

Most children's growth will be on track, even if they're picky eaters. Focus on offering a variety of nutritious foods and consult a healthcare provider if you have concerns.