Helping picky eaters during the holidays

With a picky eater, you have to find ways to get protein and nutrients into their diet.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 9:41 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Family and holiday gatherings can be tricky with a picky eater.

Brent Bishop, a fitness expert and dad, and knows the palate of a picky eater.

“They love to eat. You have to eat pizza, mac and cheese, chips, you know, all the salty, savory, sweet foods,” said Bishop.

Those foods, though, are heavy in carbs and “don’t have the adequate nutrients and protein in them,” he said.

With a picky eater, you have to find ways to get protein and nutrients into their diet. Bishop says. Sources like fish, salmon and chicken are good options, as well as quinoa, beans and lentils.

Bishop suggests spreading out protein across the day.

One great trick is to bake ahead, so you know what foods you were able to sneak into the different products. Remember that presentation is important.

“I’ll just try to have a different food item with my son,” Bishop said. “And if it doesn’t look good, you know, even though it might taste good, he won’t even try it. So presentation is actually pretty big.”

One thing that can also help is having the kids cook with you and help them learn how to cut vegetables. Also work on sneaking nutrition into the foods they trust.

“If they like pizza, try to get if you can get some vegetables and other items on there other than just cheese pizza or just pepperoni,” Bishop said. If they like things like chicken, you know, stir-fries are is a great option. So you can stir fry it with some brown rice with some carrots, whatever vegetables that you think would work.”

Bishop says when you engage children in the process, they learn about food and get comfortable with it. Also create memories with food.

“My son and I will have taco Tuesday,” said Bishop. “So we’ll go to the store, we’ll do the whole thing ... buy all the items.”

“I try to make sure there’s some healthy items,” he said. “We use the extra lean ground turkey in there, and then we prepare it together. And then we have that whole presentation on the dinner table. And it just creates that whole experience.”

Bishop says some parents use kid-friendly protein powder. He recommends waiting on traditional protein powder until your kids are older in their development.