The Top 7 Mistakes That Make Picky Eating Worse

The Top 7 Mistakes That Make Picky Eating Worse

Parents often make mistakes when trying to encourage their picky eaters. Bribing, pressuring, hiding new food, letting them fill up on liquids, using distractions, allowing grazing, and only offering familiar foods are common mistakes. These can make picky eating worse. Instead, parents should avoid these mistakes, trust their child's appetite, provide healthy meals and snacks, eat together as a family, and consistently expose their child to new foods.



  •  Mistake 1: Using bribes reinforces the idea that new food is unpleasant.
  •  Mistake 2: Applying pressure or force-feeding creates stress and suppresses appetite.
  •  Mistake 3: Hiding new food in favorites makes children distrust food and reject it.
  •  Mistake 4: Letting children fill up on milk or sugary drinks suppresses appetite.
  •  Mistake 5: Using distractions like screens prevents children from focusing on food.
  • ️ Mistake 6: Allowing grazing throughout the day reduces hunger for meals.
  • ️ Mistake 7: Only offering familiar foods prevents exposure to new foods.



Key Insights


-  Using bribes backfires: Bribing children to eat new foods reinforces the idea that those foods are unpleasant and need to be rewarded. This decreases their preference for new foods.

-  Pressure and force-feeding don't work: Applying pressure or force-feeding may work in the short term, but it creates stress and suppresses appetite. This leads to picky eating and a negative association with mealtimes.

-  Hiding new food is counterproductive: Hiding new foods in favorites may seem like a clever trick, but it causes children to distrust food and reject both the new food and their favorites.

-  Liquids can reduce appetite: Letting children fill up on milk, juice, or sugary drinks throughout the day suppresses appetite and makes them less motivated to try new foods.

-  Distractions hinder food exploration: Using screens or distractions during meals prevents children from fully experiencing the taste, smell, and appearance of food. This can lead to aversions when the distractions are removed.

- ️ Grazing disrupts mealtime hunger: Allowing children to graze throughout the day with constant snacking reduces their hunger for meals. Spacing out meals and snacks helps build appetite for nutritious food.

- ️ Familiar foods limit exposure: Only offering familiar foods prevents children from being exposed to new foods, which are necessary for developing preferences. Continual exposure, even if not immediately eaten, is key to overcoming picky eating.