munchkin meals: getting our picky eater to eat

Well, something FINALLY clicked with MacKenna.  (OMG, everybody stop and go knock on some wood before I jinx everything!)  The past few weeks, MacKenna has actually been eating her dinner (ALL of it) without too much coaxing or forcing on our part.  I feel like it’s been a LONG time coming (like, 3 years), but it surely hasn’t been easy.

There are 2 things that I think have specifically led to Kenna finally eating better.  I won’t say it’s perfect or flawless (yet), but meal times seem to be much more pleasant.  Here’s what has worked for us:

This one is going to sound really stupid and goofy, but I promise, it WORKED.  We had been telling Kenna that princesses (like Elsa and Cinderella) eat their vegetables, but that wasn’t quite working.  It wasn’t until we went to Branson and she was just barely too short to ride some of the rides.  We began telling her that if she ate all her fruits and vegetables at dinner, she would grow big and strong and be able to ride the rides the next time we go.  I’m not kidding – since we’ve come back from Branson, she cleans her plate.  That little girl really wants to ride those rides in Silver Dollar City.  Oh, and I should mention that I also told her that if she ate a rainbow of foods (I told her this as I was cooking vegetables for dinner), she’d be like Rainbow Dash (a My Little Pony).  Lies.  They work, people. 

 The other thing that has worked for us has been to just keep trying to get her to try new foods.  I know, I know.  Y’all have been saying that for 3 years now.  But, it honestly hadn’t been working.  Maybe it was the way I approached it, or maybe she just wasn’t ready.  Who knows, but it’s working now…

I’ll admit, this was ALL Matt.  I’m more of a put-it-on-the-plate-and-eat-it-or-go-hungry person.  I never really forced her to eat anything she didn’t want to, but she also wouldn’t get dessert or anything else until she ate what I gave her.  This definitely worked too, but Matt just kept taking bits and pieces of his food and asking her to try it.  Most of the time, she’d scream at him until he left her alone or he forced some food into her mouth.  But, after asking her over and over again, she started taking bites willingly.  And a few times now, she has actually reached over on to his plate and taken food off of it… 

 Who is this child and what has she done with my picky eater?!

Because of these changes, MacKenna is no longer on a diet of mac + cheese and quesadillas.  Now, she’s eating blueberries, avocado, watermelon, and is actually ASKING for broccoli.  She’s been more willing to eat what we give her too and is being slightly more adventurous when it comes to foods.

Is there room for improvement?  Oh gosh, yes!  She still asks for Pop Tarts for breakfast, which we usually give her, but I’m happy to see her eating better and eating MORE.  Meal times are much less stressful and we are all leaving the table full and happy. 


  • yay!!!

  • Lee

    Yay. I know how stressful it is to have a kid that doesn’t want to eat. So glad that MacKenna has turned the corner.

  • Lauren

    great read! My toddler has the same minnie plate:)