By Marnita Coleman
Special to AFRO

Food is a delicious treat to most people, especially when it is sweet and savory. If it looks right and tastes good, my motto is “let’s give it a try.”  But, how about the child that does not fit this mold because they are a picky eater. What looks appealing to the average person, may appear yucky to them.  So, how do you handle a picky eater? 

1976: This AFRO archive shows youngsters at an Easter picnic at Druid Hill Park.

First, re-evaluate how you see them.  Picky eaters are not in rebellion, they are selective about what they eat which is not a crime.  Therefore, they don’t need a defense or an explanation. It is what it is. Today, we have choices.  Old school parents used to make their children eat whatever they prepared – I’m a witness to that. They didn’t afford their kids the opportunity to choose something else.  It was eat what I fixed or skip the meal. But nowadays, kids are plagued with numerous food allergies, and it could honestly be dangerous to force them to eat certain foods.  Besides, the picky eater is not having a good time with this either; rummaging through an undesirable cuisine to find at least one bite to enjoy, while their psyche is screaming don’t eat that, you’ll be sorry!  

Always keep these things in mind to help your picky eater.  When you are out and about, have a go-to meal specifically prepared for that child.  This re-emphasizes your concern and eliminates the struggle of trying to find something they will eat.  At home, be sure to store a variety of their favorite foods too. When you have downtime, you and your child can explore new food options, or different ways of making the old food that they like.  Try adding a sauce, baking instead of frying or cool whip atop their fruit. You’ll have lots of fun together as you expand their menu without any pressure.

Remember, eating is fundamental. Since you are the parent chef, try to make it pleasurable for everyone – especially the picky eater!

Marnita Coleman is an author and host of The Marnita Show, a parenting show heard daily across the globe.  For more parenting, log onto or listen on

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