9 Tips to Get Picky Eaters to Pick Healthy Food

By Nmami Agarwal     25-Feb 2017

9 Tips to Get Picky Eaters to Pick Healthy Food

“No, I don’t like its taste.”
“It doesn’t smell good.”
“I’ll eat red foods only.”
“Can you make a burger out of it?”
“See! You have hidden peas in it!”

Sounds like your child? Well, you’re in good company. Most kids behave like this in their initial years. There’s peer pressure, attraction to junk food, and sometimes, just mood swings. You want them to adopt healthy eating habits, develop different tastes, and fill their plates with nutrition, but they just won’t let you do that.

Relax! Fussy eating is a rite of passage. Every kid does it at a certain age and leaves it later. However, it turns into an issue when it starts affecting their health or if these tantrums become their nature. So, here are some ideas to get your fussy eater jump into eating healthy foods and enjoying it.

  • Make it their happy place
    Like most of us, children too associate food with their emotions. If they reach the dinner table in a happy mood with the home smelling appetising, they’ll be more inclined to try new items. If you discuss their homework or their below-average performance in school on the dinner table, or act like healthy food is a punishment for that, they’re never going to love it.
  • Set meal times
    Setting meal times and eating at the same time every day helps regulate hunger and encourages the kid to eat whatever is served. You could also go a step ahead and design a weekly menu to keep them excited for the upcoming meals which also have a few cheat meals.
  • Ignore the tantrums
    Some kids create a fuss just to get attention and as a parent, you know when that’s happening. So, it’s wise not to oblige them by giving in to their demands all the time. If they refuse to eat, ignore them as much as possible. When they’ll feel hungry, they’ll eat what is served and gradually, understand that this is not the right way to get your attention. Simultaneously, it’s important to appreciate children when they don’t fuss.
  • One step at a time
    Be patient with introducing new tastes and items to their menu. Do it one at a time and in an innovative way. Children are highly visual and will jump to any food item if it is presented dramatically. Also, don’t forget to appreciate them when they try it. Ask your kids for their ideas on how to make the food more interesting. Put a small amount of new food on the plate with the food your child already likes.
  • Ask them to be your sous chef
    This is the next step to getting your kids appreciate all kinds of food items. Most parents pamper their child and are overly protective. They fear that the child might get cut or burned. Don’t forget that you’ll be there for them. Involve them in food preparation. You’ll learn more about how they like their food to be and they’ll understand that it’s not easy to cook interesting items every day. If possible, get them to join you in the kitchen garden.
  • Make the food attractive
    Like I said, children respond to visual stimulus. So, make the food attractive. Use your child’s interests to modify food and make it more appealing. Create a story around it – maybe it was the first dish you learned, it was something you hated first too, or it has some historical significance. Cartoons like Popeye promote nutritious foods like spinach. Similarly, minions promote bananas and Po the noodle soup. Make their cartoons work for you!
  • Be positive
    Yes, that sounds like a clichéd advice, but it’s a cliché for a reason – it works! While introducing a new food, eat it with your child and be positive about it. You don’t have to pretend how delicious it is, but you can recite the benefits. For example, “Oh! Carrots give me x-ray vision to know when my boy is stealing cookies even when I’m not looking that way.”
  • Hide nutrition
    This is a tried and trusted technique that mothers have been using for centuries to get their kids eat healthily. If your kids don’t like milk and other dairy products, make fruit custards, milk shakes, and colourful yogurts. If they hate chapatis, knead veggies in flour, such as beetroot, spinach, and lentils to change the colour of the chapatis to red, green, and yellow. The trick is to package nutrients smartly.
  • Host an adventure dinner
    It’s no secret that all kids love games and quizzes. So, gamify the eating process. Host weekly “adventure dinners” where you create something new and ask them to guess the ingredients. This will make them understand that things they don’t like eating could also be delectable. A little healthy competition between siblings will also take the attention away from the food’s taste to winning the contest.

Over to you
Most mothers who visit me, explain to me how coming up with innovative ideas to cook and present food in an attractive manner is taking away their night’s sleep. But that’s why I’m here – to help you lay down a firm foundation of good health and eating habits in kids’ lives.

I have included some tips here, but you must have some tricks in your kitty too. Spill them in the comments. Have a doubt? Drop that too. Know someone who would benefit from these ideas? Share it with them right away!

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Recipe Alert
Pinaca is a traditional Goan sweet dish. This dish is made by Goan rice, jaggery and plenty of

coconut. Pinaca are usually made into sweet balls and can be consumed all year long. This simple

sweet dish is easy to make yet high in nutrient value.

Nutritional value

Pinaca balls are high on nutrition as they contain jaggery, which is good source of iron, naturally

occurring B vitamins, minerals like phosphorus, zinc, calcium and copper. Coconut contains lauric

acid, which helps to increases good HDL cholesterol, also cytokinin’s present in coconut have showed anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic effects.


40 grams Goan rice flour

¼ fresh coconut

1 tablespoon Jaggery

1 tablespoon desiccated grated coconut

Pinch of cardamom powder

Nuts (optional)

Coconut water (optional)

Calories- 217 kcal

Carbs- 28.6 grams

Protein- 1.9 grams

Fats- 10.3 grams

Course- Dessert


First take the Goan rice and dry roast it on a tawa or pan.

Cool the rice and later powder them in a grinder

Now take jaggery, crush it and grind it along with coconut, also add pinch of cardamom

powder. Grind them on a round grinding stone if possible, otherwise just use a grinder.

Take this mixture out and keep adding flour, a little at a time and just mix it well with your

hands. Add coconut water if needed.

Mix well and form small balls out of this mixture.

Nuts can also be added to the mixture. (optional)

Over to you

Pinaca recipe is easy to make and come out with sweet results. So, make this nutritious recipe for

your near and dear ones.
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Monsoon brings along rain of jubilation which soars one’s vehemence to cloud high, but this finite elation may have adverse effects to your precious locks. During rainfall hair’s chemical structure makes it unusually sensitive to airborne hydrogen, forming bonds, and swells until the smooth cuticle erupts to make them frizzy. Damp hair may lead to many other problems too. Another reason that worsens the problem is the presence of environmental pollutants in rainwater that intensifies the fungal infections on the scalp that weakens roots and causes hair fall. Even if you are not directly exposed to rainfall, still it is a task to dry hair after a shower due to the prevalent humidity.

So, here are some Indian/ Ayurvedic remedies to your rescue! Have a look.

Aloe vera juice
Aloe vera is an ingredient known to make your system clean. It is commonly used in Ayurveda for its innumerable health benefits. It’s high on alkaline properties- vital in balancing the PH levels of your hair which in return stimulates hair growth and strength.

Directions: Aloe vera can be both, consumed and applied so, you can have fresh and homemade aloe vera juice in the morning with lukewarm water. Also, its pulp can be directly applied to the scalp. Apply and leave it for 1-2 hours then rinse it with lukewarm water.

Methi seeds (Fenugreek)
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Recipe Alert
Amla scientifically called Phyllanthus emblica or more commonly Indian gooseberry. It can be put to innumerable uses like in culinary, shampoos, hair oils and in ayurvedic medicines. This amla churna or powder can be put to many uses like it can be taken with water for wonderful results, make amla tea using this powder, add it to curries, or consume with lemon and honey.

Nutritional Values

Amla has high contents of ascorbic acid (vitamin-c) flavonoids, Ellagic acid and Gallic acid. It helps in reducing blood sugar level in the body. High in digestive fibre content. Prevents hair loss and greying of hair. Helps in curing sore throat and prevents constipation.


200 grams amla

Calories- 116 kcal
Carbs- 27.4 grams
Proteins- 1 gram
Fats- 0.2 gram


After through washing, cut and dry the amlas in direct sunlight for few days till they are completely dry.

After the juice is evaporated completely, transfer the dried amla in a grinder and blend it coarsely.

Sift the amla powder through a sieve to achieve smooth powder.

Voila! Your home made amla powder is ready.

Store this powder in an airtight container.

Use every day as needed.

Over to you

Amla powder lasts for up to 6 months, so your efforts in this recipe will last for long, providing you with storehouse of nutrients and taking care of your various problems.
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2) http://www.nmamilife.com/recipes/
3) Highlights section in BIOS under Recipes
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