Health, Food & Nutrition

ADDitude Asked: Outsmarting a Picky Eater

We asked our readers: How do you get your picky eater to chow down?

How Do You Feed a Picky Eater with ADHD?

We have a rule: “You try everything.” If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it, but you have to try it. If you choose not to eat dinner, then you do not get anything else for the evening. If you finish your dinner, you can have snacks.
-An ADDitude Reader

Get them involved in cooking. My kids signed up for a cooking class at the rec department. We have some cookbooks for kids. They are proud of their cooking and have become more open to trying different foods.
-Barbara Ives, Arlington, Massachusetts

My child is not a picky eater. However, I find it pointless to make children eat things they hate. Being hungry tends to make most people less picky.
-An ADDitude Reader

[Got a Picky Eater on Your Hands? Here’s How to Cope]

We use plates that are divided into three sections. Two sections have foods that we know our children will eat. The last section has a taste/small bite of an unfamiliar or non-preferred food. The kids are welcome to have seconds of any foods that they choose. When they eat the preferred foods, and try a taste of the non-preferred food, they are welcome to dessert later. This strategy eliminates power struggles. What to eat is the child’s choice.
-Diane, Wisconsin

Our son has to try a small amount of what we’re eating, and then he can make what he wants to eat.
-Diane, Peoria, Illinois

We serve the fruits and veggies that they like. For example, all three of my ADHD kids will eat green beans, salad, tomatoes, apples, and oranges, so we have those items at meals. When we include items they are not keen on in their meals, we make sure to have a main dish and a veggie that everyone will eat.
-Beth Eiteljorge, Terre Haute, Indiana

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We introduce new foods while keeping one thing he likes on the plate.
-An ADDitude Reader

I don’t require my 5-year-old to sit down for dinner. He spends all day sitting at school, so I allow him to eat on the run. He usually starts eating earlier than the rest of us, but I remind him to run over to the table and eat another bite every few minutes. Since I have been doing this, he has cleaned his plate every night.
-An ADDitude Reader

I let my son watch TV while he eats, so he is less focused on the specific foods and more focused on the programs.
-Laura, Virginia

If you think your child’s issues with picky eating go beyond the norm, talk to their pediatrician for a referral to a feeding difficulties specialist.