A Guide for Picky Eaters

Contributed by Jamaica Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics (JAPINAD)
A Guide for Parents & Caregivers

So your child is a picky eater, you are not alone. All children go through phases when it seems as if food is their biggest enemy. But how do we get through those phases without the power struggles?  The ages of 3-6 years are critical for forming life long eating behaviours.

While ensuring that our children gain the balanced nutrition they need to grow healthily, we should help them develop a healthy relationship with food to last a lifetime.

Parents and caregivers must first bear two very important points in mind.

1) Children eat when they are hungry, and rarely do when they are not.

2) Children go through periods of accelerated growth, and periods of little growth. Their appetites will be less during periods of little growth.

With these points in mind, here are some tips for handling picky eaters:

  • Respect Hunger: It’s much less frustrating to feed your child when he/she is hungry rather than forcing the child to eat whenyou want them to eat.
  • Small Portions: Offer your child small portions. A child’s stomach is much smaller than yours, so they eat smaller amounts at any given time.
  • Avoid stereotyping foods. It does not matter to a child when to eat a particular food, and there is nothing nutritionally wrong with eating cereal and milk at night.

Food should not be used as a reward or punishment. This may cause children to avoid some foods because they associate them with something negative. On the other hand, some foods become ‘comfort foods’ that we turn to even in adulthood to alleviate stressful situations thus leading to obesity.

Remove Distractions: Turn the television and computer off during mealtimes. Remove toys and any other distractions from the eating area new balance factory outlet.  Being attuned to the variety of tastes from food will help the child to appreciate the varied healthy properties later on.

Eat with your child. Children do what they see others do. This works especially well when your child eats with other children.

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Be creative with vegetables. If your child won’t eat vegetables, try incorporating them into foods the child likes. You may add cooked veggies to rice, or meat. Allow your child to dip raw veggies in peanut butter, jellies, yogurt or cheese spread if they like. The dips should be closely monitored as this may lead to increase weight gain

Young children, particularly toddlers have erratic eating patterns. They may eat a variety of foods one day then eat almost nothing the next! Don’t despair, it is more important for a child to achieve nutritional balance over a one week period, than in just one day Air Max 90 Glow. As children grow older, they settle into a routine of meals and snacks.

Drink it: If your child is not in the mood for eating, make their beverage more nourishing by adding key ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, yogurt or milk to serve as a tasty, nutritious liquid meal. This should only be an occasional solution however since drinking does not replace the benefits of chewing.  Overuse of high calorie drinks eventually leads to overweight.

Be Patient: Try to remain calm or else you will frustrate yourself and your toddler and nobody will be happy.

As long as your child is energetic, happy, and growing well, don’t fret!



Jamaica Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics (JAPINAD)

E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

Telephone: 977-4616, P.O. Box 227, Mona, Kingston 7


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