Are you placating a picky eater?

I have an important question for you. Do you ask your child what she wants to eat at meal times?

Child strong arming parent for lollipop

If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. You might feel that you have to offer the kinds of foods she wants because otherwise she’ll be undernourished and walk around feeling hungry all day – or week. Well, I’m here to tell you that kind of thinking is like a sweater full price at Neiman’s. I’m not buying it. And you shouldn’t either.

While doling out choices seems like a good idea in the moment, the reality is that this action feeds your child’s mind the belief that it’s OK to grimace over her grub. And it’s really not. If you’re serving up non-stop rounds of mac ’n cheese, pizza and chicken nuggets, day after day, you and your child are on a never-ending merry-go-round of questioning and catering.

So chomp on this food fact for a second. Your child will still grow on empty calories. But the reality is that it’s only with good nutrition (protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy and vegetables) that she has a fighting chance at a disease- and infection-free life. So it’s really important to break the cycle as early as possible, and turn your picky eater into a passionate one.

mom serving soup to daughter

Here’s how: With eSatter’s Division of Responsibility (DOR) method, you get to decide what, where and when you offer food, and your child gets to choose how much or little of it he eats. The idea here is that if parents do their job with feeding, children will do their job with eating. See how nicely that works?

Let me unpack that for you. If you start preparing healthy foods without catering to likes and dislikes, you will ultimately raise children with a delicious appetite for eating a variety of foods. Your child will ultimately grow up wanting to experience different tastes and textures. And in doing so, she’ll get a body designed specifically for her. What could be healthier than that?

Do you have a picky eater? Tell me about your picky eater in the comments. Have you gotten to a place where you just ask what your kiddos want for dinner to avoid the headache?


  1. Mariss says

    I have very picky eaters at my house. To the point that I basically make three meals every night! I have adopted the family style serving idea from you and that has helped. But it still feels like my kids are light on nutrition while the adults have fairly healthy meals. Alex only eats fruits and veggies (all raw), dairy and pepperoni, possibly pizza and pasta. Travis east all protien (eggs, chicken, fish) and cooked veggies (a fav is your squash bites). Breakfast is the hardest as cereal (and waffles) are the go-to of choice. I try to add fruit but I am not sure what to do!

    • danielle says

      I apologize for missing this comment back in December. It’s so nice to hear from you!!! We miss MHD! First, it is not uncommon for kids to be “picky” so you are definitely not raising children who are out of the ordinary. I’m happy to hear that you’ve started family style serving because this provides consistent exposure to the different foods that everyone at the table eats. The proven approach that I use to teach families how to reverse picky eating is the Division of Responsibility method. This approach is a journey, requires the support of both parents and takes a bit of effort. The best part is that you won’t be cooking 3 meals anymore!! Imagine how much time you have when you don’t have to do that!! I offer private picky eating coaching sessions, please contact me if you are interested. We can do phone/skype sessions with you and your hubby and I book them in packages of three. I’m also working on a picky eating online class but not sure when it will launch in 2015.

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