7 Experts on How to Deal With Picky Eaters

A recipe for turning your child into a food fanatic.

To find out how to raise epicurious, er… epicurean, eaters, we turned to the experts to get a game plan on winning the hunger games.

➜ Take a good look in the mirror “If you have parents that are not adventurous eaters, children will follow in those footsteps,” says Nancy Kopperud of the Petite Chef in Dousman.

➜ Get some skin in the game “If children have a hand in making what they’re going to eat, they’re more likely to try it because they’re proud of what they did,” says Tammy Herold, a junior chef instructor with Milwaukee Recreation.

➜ And buy some time “Even the smallest kids can have a chore that’s going to help with dinner preparation,” Kopperud says. Getting your little sous chef cooking (with proper safety precautions) will get meals on the table quicker.

➜ Stir the pot “I urge kids to go to the library and look at kids cookbooks,” says Herold. “If your favorite dish is chicken, you can find hundreds of recipes for chicken, and one of them will get your mouth watering.”

➜ Find a “gateway food” Jennifer Tyler Lee, author of The 52 New Foods Challenge, says finding “familiar foods you know your kids will eat can be a vehicle for introducing something new.” If your kids like waffles but not fruit, make a waffle sandwich with bananas in the middle for a new take.

➜ Try, try and try again … but with different methods. “Your child might not like the flavor or texture of cauliflower roasted, but they might like it raw paired with a dip,” says Tyler Lee. “You won’t know until you start experimenting, and kids get inspired to experiment.”

➜ Don’t force it too much Just as your palate has changed over time, your kids’ will, too. We’re programmed to be wary of bitter flavors, which can turn out to be poisonous. Don’t be surprised when they wince when given Brussels sprouts. Give it time, and those taste buds may change.

The Epicure’s Guide to Milwaukee

This story is part of The Epicure’s Guide to Milwaukee feature in our March, 2015 issue. Click to read the rest of the guide.

The Epicure's Guide to Milwaukee

‘The Epicure’s Guide to Milwaukee’ is the cover story for the March, 2015, issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
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Former Managing Editor