Feeding the Picky Eater: How to Introduce New Foods

By Caroline Larson, M.Ed. CCC-SLP/L

Trying new foods can be an overload of sensory input for kids. There are so many new sights, smells, feelings, and tastes happening all at once. It can be overwhelming and off-putting. So how can we introduce new foods to picky eaters in a positive, non-confrontational way?

A few tips for feeding your picky eater:

  • Try a new food at a casual snack time where the child will feel less pressure to eat a full, formal meal, and they are free to explore and interact in whatever way he/she feels comfortable.
  • Model how you try a new food by talking through how you experience, explore and taste the food:
    • E.g., “It feels a little slippery, just like yogurt can feel slippery,” “Hmm, I wonder if I can break it into two pieces or smush it…” “Is it going to taste sweet or salty? *taste* ooh, it’s sweet just like…” “I’m going to touch it with my hands first, oh that’s OK, now I will touch it to my lips *lick your lips*, that’s OK, now I will try to take a bite…”
  • Eat meals together and provide verbal praise for your child’s positive mealtime behaviors (e.g., touching, manipulating, swallowing or “putting food in your tummy:) with preferred and less-preferred foods.
  • Avoid making food the enemy! Try to make meals and snack times as positive and encouraging as possible. never force the child to eat a food – this typically only increases the aversion.
  • Make food the focus. Avoid distractions by talking about the food, using appropriate mealtime behaviors, and modeling food exploration.


For more information and tips on feeding picky eaters, contact us!

Discover how our autism treatment services can help you

Discover how our autism treatment services can help you

Get Social With Us

Related Posts