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Ten Tips and Recipes to Deal with Picky Eaters

Food, glorious food. You love it and you want your children to love it too. Not only that, but you also want them to love the healthy stuff as well, right? Here are 10 tips to help your kids be less picky, plus three delicious and healthy recipes to get you started.


1.    At least one new thing: At least weekly, add one new food on their plate, but make sure there’s also something else on there that they like to eat. This way they get exposed to more foods early, which may also seem less threatening when another well-loved and familiar food is also on the plate.

2.    Encourage ‘food play’: Kids love to use their hands. So encourage them to explore a new food with their senses — to pick it up, touch it and smell it — so that it becomes more familiar and more fun!

3.    Take just a taste: At least ask you child to “take just a taste.” And if they refuse, don’t make a big deal out of it or force them to try; your efforts may backfire and turn your kid off the food for good.

4.    Keep serving it up: Just because your child refused a food the first time, don’t give up. Continue to serve up the new food on different occasions. It can take quite a few occasions before your picky eater even pops the new food into their mouth.

5.    Prepare the food in a different way: Maybe steamed carrots aren’t their thing, but they can’t get enough of raw, crunchy carrots? Perhaps grated or small veggies pieces in a sauce or stew are more enticing than larger, harder-to-chew chunks? It may be that they like Brussels sprouts roasted or pan-fried instead of boiled?

6.    Involve them: Kids develop their sense of individuality quite young, and want to do things by themselves and in their own way. The earlier you involve them in preparing food, the better; they’re more likely to try it. Get them to help you plate the food and help you in the kitchen (even a three-year-old can stir fruit into yogurt or spread nut butter on bread). If you have a veggie patch or herb garden, get them to grow something and help you to look after it.

7.    Make it fun: Kids are more likely to eat real food if you’ve made it look fun and colourful. For example, cut vegetables into cute shapes or use them to make shapes on a plate (like a face). Buy a lunch box with their favourite character on it and stickers that you can stick onto their lunch bags.

8.    Talk it up, big time: Kids love to copy adults; so put some food on your plate and exaggerate: “Yummy! Mum loves [insert food name]! Do you want to try it?” Eventually, your kid may be brave enough to try it.

9.    It’s all in a name: For kids, use names that are fun and hone into their imagination. For example, it’s not a green smoothie; it’s a green monster smoothie. It’s not broccoli; it’s a baby tree. Create names using their favourite TV characters, toys or books.

10.  Substitute it: Kids also love things like burgers, pizzas and pies – and any type of sweet treat, of course! Buy cookbooks and print recipes from blogs that have recipes of healthier, wholefood versions of kids’ favourites. Here are three to get you started.


Lettuce Boats

Recipe adapted from Raw Food 4 Kids by Sarah Nolan-Quinney

Serves 2 to 4

·         1 cup walnuts or sunflower seeds

·         1 cup of mushrooms

·         1 tbsp linseed oil

·         1 tbsp cumin powder

·         2 tsp coriander powder

·         pinch of Himalayan sea salt

·         lettuce leaf cups, for serving

·         raw salad vegetables, for serving

·         tahini (sesame seed butter), for serving

Except for the lettuce leaves, place all ingredients into a food processor and process into small pieces – ensuring the mixture has texture.

Place mixture into lettuce leaf cups and sprinkle with raw vegetables of your choice, such as chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, grated carrot and cucumber.

Drizzle with tahini.


Sweet Potato Burgers

Recipe from I Quit Sugar For Life by Sarah Wilson

Serves 2 to 4

·         1 large sweet potato, cut into rounds

·         1 large tomato, sliced

·         olive oil

·         ½ avocado

·         cream cheese

·         handful snow peas, slivered

Bake sweet potato rounds coated in a little olive oil and salt at 220C for 20 minutes.

Cool, then spread with avocado, cheese and snow peas cut in slivers.

Use slices of tomato as the burger buns.


Flower-Power Eggs

Recipe from I Quit Sugar For Life by Sarah Wilson

Serves 4

·         1 small capsicum (any colour)

·         coconut oil

·         4 eggs

Cut the capsicum into four 1.5cm rings and place in a lightly oiled pan over a low heat.

Crack an egg in the middles of egg capsicum ring, then cover and cook until done.


*Both cookbooks mentioned are sold in store and come highly recommended by us!