Picky eating can be a major parenting challenge. Whether you’re dealing with kids who won’t try new foods or adults who are stuck in their ways, it’s important to understand why people become picky eaters—and how to help them become more adventurous eaters. Here we identify six types of picky eaters and provide tips on how to tackle the problem.
1. The Fussy Eater
The fussy eater is easily overwhelmed by strong flavors, so they tend to stick to mild-tasting foods like pasta with butter or cheese sauce and chicken nuggets. With these picky eaters, start by introducing familiar foods in unfamiliar ways—for example, try adding a few vegetables to the mac and cheese. You may also consider kids drinks that contain extra nutrition and can help them get used to new flavors.
2. The Texture Aversive Eater
These picky eaters find textures like slimy or crunchy difficult to cope with, so they’ll often stick to mashed potatoes and spaghetti. To help them become more adventurous, it’s important to avoid forcing them to try new dishes that have textures they don’t like. Instead, focus on introducing them gradually—try preparing the food in different ways or serving it alongside something familiar. You may also consider an immune booster for kids to help them get over the texture aversions.
3. The Variety Avoidant Eater
People who avoid variety tend to be creatures of habit and are very resistant when it comes to trying new foods. It can take months before they finally accept something new. One way to help is by pairing a food they like with one they don’t—for example, getting them to try tomato sauce on spaghetti by mixing it in gradually.
4. The Emotional Eater
This type of picky eater eats based on their moods or emotions rather than hunger. These people often get stressed out when trying something new and may end up avoiding it altogether. To help, it’s important to create an environment where the individual feels safe and secure—start by introducing small amounts of unfamiliar foods slowly and work your way up from there.
5. The Brand Loyal Eater
These individuals are so loyal to certain brands that they’re not willing to try anything else—even if it is the same type of food. Start by introducing them to a similar product from another brand, and explain why you think they should try it—for example, that this one might taste better or have fewer additives.
6. The Picky Eater Who Won’t Eat Vegetables
This is a common issue for many picky eaters—they will only eat processed foods and won’t touch anything green. To encourage them to try something different, start by introducing vegetables in dishes they already like—add grated carrots to their favorite soup, for example. Then slowly increase the amount of vegetables until they are more comfortable with different textures and flavors.
To Sum Up
Picky eating can be a major challenge for parents, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Understanding the different types of picky eaters and how to tackle their particular issues is key to helping them become more adventurous eaters. Start by introducing familiar foods in unfamiliar ways, pairing a food they like with one they don’t, creating an environment where they feel safe and secure, and introducing vegetables in dishes they already like. With patience, support, and understanding, picky eaters can learn to enjoy trying new foods. Thank you for reading!