The Picky Eaters Project: Melissa's Tips

Browse photos from the Picky Eaters Project, including Melissa d'Arabian's tips for how to please the picky eaters in the family with healthier versions of favorite foods.
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Make Dinnertime Fun

Create a clear start and stop for all of your dinners. I let the girls ring a dinner bell, which signifies a clear start to dinner and makes it a little more fun.

Basic Nutrition

Keep it simple. Explain that protein builds muscles, carbs give us energy, fiber scrubs out our insides, and vitamins help us grow and keep us from getting sick.

Go On a Field Trip

Take your kids to a farmers market so they can pick out something new to try at home. It's a great way for kids to connect to their food.

Set the Table Early

I set the table earlier in the day — that way I make sure dinner starts on time. It avoids having crabby and hungry kids.

Portion Control for Sweets

Instead of serving full-size sweets like brownies, present a tray of one-bite brownies. Empower the kids and ask them whether they want one or two, knowing that eating two bite-size brownies is still smaller than a full portion. But also serve a bowl of fruit salad or yogurt, and tell them they can have as they want.

The Concept of Tradeoffs

See how many grams of sugar are really in that soda by giving kids a spoon and having them dish sugar into a bowl. It's teaching them to be mindful of what they're putting into their bodies.

Read the Nutrition Labels

By giving your kids the information, you're redirecting the need for a power struggle into an appropriate and useful outlet — utilizing the power of education. Saying, "let's see what the labels say" puts you both on the same team. Get more of Melissa's tips for teaching kids about nutrition here.

Serve Variations

Try serving your kids something different, but along the same lines. For example, if your kids like blueberry muffins, try serving them cranberry muffins.

Choose Foods They Like

The idea is to try and pick something they enjoy (like ice cream) so you can reward them for having an adventurous palate. If your kids like chocolate ice cream, have them try a marble ice cream.

Give Them a Voice

Give them "taste test books." It's a place for each kid to write down their opinions on the foods they try. Let them decorate each book so they can make them their own. It'll get them excited about trying new foods.

Want more from the Picky Eaters Project?

Watch the full web series and get more tips and recipes from Melissa.

Next Up

The Picky Eaters Project: Melissa's Pantry List

This is a list of ingredients I always have available in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

The Picky Eaters Project: Melissa's Toolkit

Download all of the materials you need to start Melissa's Picky Eaters Project with your kids.

The Picky Eaters Project: Kids and Nutrition

Melissa explains how she teaches her kids about the concepts of basic nutrition.

The Picky Eaters Project: Playing the Texture Game with Kids

Kids are notoriously picky about textures, but this can help you pick new foods for them to try.