Healthy Foods for the Whole Family

Now you have healthy food choices in your house. How do you get your family to eat them? Kids can be picky eaters. And they may resist new tastes. But your whole family can learn to eat healthy foods together. 

Woman and girl preparing healthy food in kitchen.

Getting kids to try new foods

Kids may not want to eat foods that are new to them. That's normal. But forcing kids to eat can lead to fighting. It also makes parents and kids feel bad about food. How can you encourage your child to try new tastes?

  • Kids often say "I don't like it!" without even trying a food. To help your child get used to new foods, serve only a very small amount. Ask your child to at least taste it. Don't force him or her to eat it. But do eat the new food yourself.

  • It may take a long time for your child to feel OK with a new food. You might have to serve a new food 10 or more times before your child accepts it. Don’t give up. Over time, the food will be more familiar to your child.

  • Don't overwhelm your child with too many new things at once. Try only one new food at a time until your child becomes comfortable with it.

One meal for the whole family

The whole family should be offered the food you make for each meal. You don't have to give in to a picky eater's demands. You're not a short-order cook, so don't make different foods for each person.

  • Serve the new food to each family member. If your child doesn't want to eat it, that's OK. Put your child's portion of food in the fridge for when he or she is hungry later.

  • Your child might not be ready to eat a new food. So also serve at least one healthy food that your child is familiar with as part of each meal.

Don't reward kids for healthy eating

Have you ever offered your child dessert for trying a new vegetable at dinner? This can make kids think that a sweet food is better than a healthy one. Don't bribe your child to try new foods. Instead, ask your child to taste the new food, and keep serving it until it becomes familiar.

To learn more

To get more info on feeding kids who are picky eaters:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Fruits and Veggies: More Matters