Picky Eating - Help!

Mums, Dads & Caregivers - you're giving it your absolute all with this whole parenting thing but your child won't play ball at mealtimes... you are not alone!

Picky eating (also known as fussy eating) is a common behaviour among young children and is often a significant cause of concern for many parents and caregivers.

While there is no universally accepted definition of picky eating, it tends to be characterised by an unwillingness to try new foods, as well as strong food preferences which can lead to limited dietary variety during early childhood.

See below for some basic strategies that you can try to overcome periods of picky eating:

  • Make food and mealtimes fun!
  • Eat family style – parents and kids eat the same foods at the same time.
  • Reduce pressure around mealtimes
  • Don’t bribe, coerce, demand or force feed
  • Provide repeated exposures to same foods
  • Offer a preferred ‘safe food’ at each mealtime and keep portions of non-preferred foods small
  • Limit milk and juice intake around mealtimes (it can make them full!)
  • Involve your kids in preparation of food (peel, cut, stir – this is good for language development too! See separate blog post on involving your child in food prep)
  • Try to provide slight variations on their favourite foods (e.g. if they like hot chips try sweet potato chips)


If difficulties around mealtimes persist, please consult an experienced feeding therapist. This may be a Speech Pathologist, Dietitian, Occupational Therapist or team of all three!


Happy Feeding!

- Brit 



Dovey, T. M., Staples, P. A., Gibson, E. L., & Halford, J. C. (2008). Food neophobia
and ‘picky/fussy’eating in children: a review. Appetite50(2-3), 181-193.
Ellyn Satter Institute: http://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org
Kamarudin, M. S., Shahril, M. R., Haron, H., Kadar, M., Safii, N. S., & Hamzaid, N. H. (2023). Interventions for Picky Eaters among Typically Developed Children—A Scoping Review. Nutrients15(1), 242.
Taylor, C. M., Wernimont, S. M., Northstone, K., & Emmett, P. M. (2015). Picky/fussy eating in children: Review of definitions, assessment, prevalence and dietary intakes. Appetite95, 349-359.
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