Bringing Picky Eaters to the Thanksgiving Table


picky eaters thanksgiving

Are you the parent of a child with discriminating tastes in food? If so, you’re going to run into some difficulties on Turkey Day, when the parade of once-a-year specialties arrives at the buffet table.

While you may not have any sway over what’s served on Thanksgiving, you can make the meal go a lot more smoothly. Here’s how:

  • Bring your own. Offer to bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert (or all of the above) that you know your child likes.
  • Let your child help. Amazingly, kids seem more likely to try a new food if they’ve helped to select or prepare it.
  • Fill up. Are you certain that your child won’t touch turkey and mashed potatoes? Let him load up on raw vegetables and cheese before dinner.
  • Don’t force the issue. This is not the time to stage a standoff over cranberry sauce.
  • Encourage politeness. Do teach your child ahead of time that if they don’t want a certain food, they should say “No, thank you” instead of “EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.” Definitely remind children not to pretend to vomit.
  • Keep it in perspective. Your child won’t starve if he goes light on one meal on one day. Pack some healthy snacks for the ride home and make sure to serve favorite foods at home on the day before and the day after the holiday.

Disclaimer: we’re not talking about food allergies or sensory issues here, though some of this advice may be useful in such circumstances.

This article is based on one originally posted at The New Parents Guide blog in November 2013.


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