My son is the pickiest eater. How can I get him to try new foods?

While it may be tempting to try to bribe or trick your son into eating trying new foods, child development research suggests that forcing a child to eat something can actually make picky eating behavior worse. Instead, try making your son’s experience with new foods as positive, and low pressure, as possible. For example, try arranging new foods in a fun way on his plate, or get him involved in preparing his meals. By getting your son involved and making it fun, you are more likely to get him excited about trying new foods. You can also try making a game out of tasting new foods by asking him to rate new foods that he tries. As parents, our responsibility is to prepare and serve healthy meals. It is your child’s responsibility to decide which of these healthy foods to eat and how much to eat. This teaches your child to listen to his body and make healthy food choices.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.