I am the ﬁrst to admit, I have a couple of picky eaters at my house. They don’t like their
food to touch other food on their plate. They also prefer plain ﬂavors and one son asks
for ketchup with dinner almost every night. Reluctant to try new foods, now that is an
understatement. But what I haven’t done is give up, give in, or stopped trying to teach
my boys the importance of “trying” new ﬂavors. Happily, persistence and role modeling
have started to pay off. My teenage daughter is a fantastic role model to her brothers at
the dinner table eating my Test Kitchen recipes for The Dinner Daily and giving me
honest feedback on improvements to make. The other night at dinner both of my sons
asked for a “sample” taste of tofu stir fry I had cooked up. Did they love it? No, but they
tried a new food and as I say “baby steps” in the right direction.
The recipes we include in our meal plans are family friendly and have to all be served and
approved by children of all ages. If your children are reluctant to eat the meals you are
cooking on the weeknights don’t give up. In time your healthy meals will become
staples in your home. Here are some suggestions to try with your little ones.
5 Step to Encourage Your Picky Eaters
1. Present new foods on small plates. It’s not as overwhelming to kids when the
portion is small.
2. Eat new foods together as a family. When children see others eating and
discussing a ﬂavor their natural curiosity may motivate them to try for
it for themselves.
3. Ask your children to help with the food preparation and praise them for their “kitchen skills”.
4. Choose a theme to introduce new foods to make it a celebration. For example,
our meal plans often have a side called “fresh fruit of choice”. Use this as an
opportunity to choose a couple new tropical fruits and enjoy sampling the new
ﬂavors as a family.
5. When cooking the main dish and sides modify the preparation of the recipe to
gradually introduce new foods or ﬂavors. For example, when cooking chicken
with mango and feta I cook some chicken without the additional ingredients and
serve the chicken on a plate for my kids and put the mango slices as their side.
This way I am only cooking one meal but making modiﬁcations to make my picky
Hopefully as my boys get older their taste buds will mature . Until then, the recipes from The Dinner Daily are easy to
adapt to satisfy everyone around your family dinner table!