It’s an all too common question I hear from parents, “How do I get my kids to eat and like healthy foods?” 

It’s an all too common question I hear from parents, “How do I get my kids to eat and like healthy foods?” 

As a mom of three, I can empathize with these parents and have provided some helpful hints to get your picky eater to gobble up the good stuff.

Stock your kitchen with healthy foods

Rule number one is to have healthy foods available to your children. If you have chips, cookies, candy, soda and other non-nutritious foods filling up your cupboards, then kids are going to choose these foods for snacks.   If you have a refrigerator full of fresh fruits and vegetables, you just may be surprised how likely your kids are to make healthy choices.

Make meals balanced and attractive

Cooking at home and providing an attractive meal with fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains gives your child a well-balanced meal with plenty of choices.  This all goes back to stocking your kitchen.  A meal can be fixed in a matter of minutes if your kitchen is well-stocked with healthy foods. 

Save some time

“What’s for dinner?” can be the three most annoying words you can hear when you have had a long day at work. 

Don’t despair. But don’t head to your closest fast food joint either.  You can combine convenience foods with non-convenience foods.  If you prepare a main dish from scratch, add a bagged salad, store-bought whole wheat rolls and some canned fruit. It doesn’t have to be gourmet, just balanced.

Let kids help in the kitchen

If I let my kids help with making dinner, they are much more likely to eat it.  I could prepare the same dish myself and I would hear “Yuck!”, but somehow if they help prepare it they seem to think it is great.  Let them be creative with the meal. 

My 10-year-old daughter loves to watch the Food Network and delights in creating her own recipes. 

I let her be creative with making food for the family and it usually is quite good.

Be a good example

You have heard this over and over again, but it can’t be said enough.  Kids mimic their parents.  Picky parents have picky kids. 

If kids see their parents trying new foods they are more likely to try new foods themselves. 

If you don’t like a particular food, don’t let your child know it.  Let them judge for themselves.

Don’t cater to your kids’ wants

If your child doesn’t like what is for dinner, don’t fix them something else to eat.  Kids will never learn to try and enjoy new foods if they are allowed not to.  Trust me; your child will not starve to death if they miss a meal due to being picky.  And, if you provide a variety of foods at the table there should be something there that your child will like.

This is one of the recipes my daughter created and served the family.  I promised her I would put it in the newspaper.

Olivia’s Salad

Serves 4

2 cups spring mix lettuces

1 cup baby spinach

1/2 cup strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup pecans, toasted


2 tbsp. lime juice

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash seasoning

Whisk together lime juice, olive oil and Mrs. Dash seasoning.  Combine lettuce, spinach, and strawberries in large bowl. Sprinkle pecans on salad.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss.

*To toast pecans, place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally.