Catering to Picky Eaters: Developmental Considerations

Chapter 7: Cater to Picky Eaters

Developmental Considerations

Eat Your Vegetables and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD


  • Breastfeed.
  • Introduce solids one food at a time.
  • Expose your child to a wide variety of foods.
  • Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes on meals.
  • Name the foods your child is eating to help him develop language skills.



  • Expect neophobia (fear of trying new things, including foods).
  • Continue to expose your child to a wide variety of foods.
  • Avoid preparing separate meals.
  • Keep mealtimes relaxing and enjoyable.
  • Keep the TV off during meals.



  • Remember the “rule of 15.”
  • Involve your child in meal preparation.
  • Require your child to sit at the table during mealtimes for at least 15 to 20 minutes, but don’t force him to eat.

School Age

  • Require assistance in meal preparation.
  • Expose your child to a variety of foods.
  • Explain reasons why you would like your child to try a particular food.
  • Use mealtimes to share stories and experiences.


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