Anne Zinn, Speech Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist, discusses tips and tricks to help you navigate mealtime with picky eaters during the holidays.

Tip #1: Stay Calm

The first thing to remember is to be easy on yourself and stay calm. Mealtimes for picky eaters are already stressful and during the holidays it’s even more stressful. Just because your child may not eat Aunt Bethany’s jello mold does not mean that they are a picky eater.

Tip #2: Stick to Routines

It’s important to create a mealtime routine and stick to it during the holidays. Kids do better when they know what’s happening next and when they’ll be able to eat next.

Tip #3: Limit Snacks

While it may be easy to eat those Christmas cookies or graze on snack mix, try to resist the urge. Kids do better with regular meal and snack schedules. They will also more than likely try new foods.

Tip #4:  Try New Foods

Research shows that repeated exposure helps transition out of that picky eating stage. Talk about the foods, touch them, interact with and smell them.

Tip #5: Include Familiar Foods

Always include familiar foods or preferred foods on their plate. Also, make sure that there’s a small portion of new or novel foods to interact, touch, or talk about.

Tip #6: Stay Positive

Kids naturally go through picky eating stages, especially between the ages of 18 months and three years old.


If you have any questions about picky eating or any sort of feeding issues, please call your primary care physician to get a referral for a feeding evaluation.