Helping Picky Eaters Try New Foods

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 12:42 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - While it will look a little bit different for everyone, the school year is starting one way or another. Brian Byers talked to health coach, nutritionist, author and mother Robyn Youkilis about how to help the picky eater in your family eat healthy.

Youkilis calls picky eaters "specific eaters." She says the key to responding to them is focusing on what they do like, rather than what they don't.

“So if your kid will only eat cucumbers and carrots, great! They’ll eat cucumbers and carrots. And one day you can keep going from there.”

When you are ready to try introducing a new food, don't be afraid to make it taste good.

“My tip with that when introducing veggies and healthy foods is to include fat and flavor. We tend to be afraid of adding butter and things like that, but what it does is it adds flavor. It’s why we like our food. And don’t be afraid to add some quality sea salt. So Celtic sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, just anything that isn’t iodized. And it can be the teeniest, tiniest amount. Also, know that the quality sea salt has minerals in it, so that’s going to be healthy for their bodies.”

Give your kids the benefit of the doubt, rather than assuming that they won't like a certain food because it's a quote "grown up food."

“Don’t assume your kids will only like crackers and cookies and treats and gummies in little bags. They have unique taste buds as well. A lot of kids like sour things, so what you can do is actually introduce some really good for them probiotic-rich fermented foods. So in both of my books I teach about fermented radishes, so this is just saltwater brine and veggies, a little more than that, you can learn from my social channels and blog. My daughter loves these, so it’s similar to something like a pickle.”

Youkilis says overall, positivity is crucial. She says it's important to not add guilt to treats in the process of trying to get your kids to eat healthier foods.

“So it’s, ‘Ok, we can enjoy those. They’re a part of life. They taste great. Aren’t they yummy? But they’re more fun foods. They’re not necessarily the foods that are going to help you run faster or do this faster.’ And I try not to make things negative or put pressure on them or manipulate them in any way. Because I think that’s where we start to get in a little bit of trouble with kids and their perception of their bodies.”

Youkilis also says smoothies are a great way to sneak some extra fruits and veggies into your kids diet.

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