Mealtime Success (Tips for New Eaters AND Picky Ones Too!)

I have been working with feeding & picky eaters for many years. But it wasn't until I had my own daughter that I had to follow the old saying "practice what you preach". I can now say from my own experience that it works! My toddler certainly has her preferences, but she is overall a good eater and willing to try new foods. So what's the secret? Here are some quick tips!

Get Messy! Babies and kids learn by using all of their senses. Let them explore new foods by playing with it, smelling it, licking it, whatever. The more they are able to explore it on their own BEFORE it is on a fork heading for their mouth, the more likely they are to actually eat it.

Keep Them Guessing! Don't get stuck in a routine of giving them the same foods over and over. Mix it up. Always put a different fruit in their yogurt or oatmeal. Add veggies into sauces, add flax seed, almond flour, and different spices. Don't be afraid of flavor.

Small Portions! Large portions are overwhelming. Keep it small- they can always ask for more!

CONTROLLED CHOICES! Give your child some choices in what they want to eat, but stay away from open ended questions. Instead of "What do you want for breakfast?" Ask, "Do you want an omelette or scrambled eggs?" You are giving them the option to choose, however they are choosing between two items you want them to eat.

PICK IT OUT! Want to get something new into one of their favorite dishes? Just add it in! But don't expect them to eat it. The initial goal is for them to pick it out and still eat their favorite part (this gets them touching, feeling, smelling, and mayyyyybe tasting).

The Rule of THREE! My best and final tip (for now) is to use the rule of three. This is having 3 foods on their plate during all meals (1) Something they LOVE (2) Something they LIKE (3) Something NEW. The initial goal is not to eat the new food, its to increase their exposure to the new food. After a little while they will taste it- on their own!

Want to learn more about setting your child up to be a successful eater? Join Me at the Little Bee Learning Studio's Nesting Series

Thursday Sept 29

Cassie Mascari, MS CCC-SLP has been a speech-language pathologist for almost 10 years specializing in feeding/swallowing, early speech & language development, social skills and behavior. She is licensed in both NY & NJ and holds certification from the American Speech & Hearing Association. For questions or more information, email