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Whether you’ll be celebrating the holidays in traditional ways or opting for a low-key, stay-at-home celebration with your immediate family, one thing’s for sure this year: food. Although you may not have the large spread you’re used to, chances are, there will be new foods your kids have never tried or you’re pretty sure they’ll flat out refuse to eat. Getting through the holidays with picky eaters may be challenging, but it’s not impossible.

HOW TO SURVIVE THE HOLIDAYS WITH PICKY EATERS 

If you’re wondering what your kids will eat or if they’ll eat at all, here are some ways to handle the holidays with picky eaters. 

1. DON’T FORCE PICKY EATERS TO EAT 

When my kids eat something they don’t like such as raw onions in a salad, they’ll put it on my plate or blurt out loud “ew, gross! I hate this!”

Despite my best intentions, they may not have the best table manners, but just like other areas of parenting, it’s a work in progress. 

So while your picky eaters may not have the best table manners, the key is to back off. 

Instead of begging them to “just take a bite,” or “try it, you might like it,” or worse—forcing them to eat, put the ball in their court. 

Remind them that there will be a variety of foods and many might be new or different but they don’t have to eat them. 

They always have the choice to take a bite and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat more.  

Related: This Easy Trick Can Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy

 

2. SERVE A SNACK 

The holidays can take you out of your normal routine and you might find yourself eating at different times throughout the day or even skipping meals. 

Hunger and the excitement of the holidays are not always the best mix, so you might consider serving your kids a small, healthy snack made up of protein and fiber in between meals. 

Apple slices with peanut butter, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, or baby carrots and hummus are all good choices. 

Not only will a healthy snack keep them on an even keel, but if they only eat bread or refuse to eat at all when dinner is served, it’s not a big deal. 

3. CONSIDER A KID-FRIENDLY DISH

Unless your kids have food allergies or other dietary restrictions, I don’t suggest preparing a separate meal for your child as a way to cope with picky eating.  

Having a separate meal on hand teaches your kids that you’ll accommodate them and cater to their preferences.

You may, however, re-consider the dishes you’ll serve or if you’re going to someone else’s house, what you’ll bring. 

Although it’s probably not going to be chicken nuggets or French fries, for example, it could be something that your kids and everyone else will enjoy like bruschetta, a spinach dip, or lasagna roll-ups, for example.  

Either way, go with the flow and pick up your normal healthy eating routine the next day.

Holidays With Picky Eaters

4. GET YOUR KIDS IN THE KITCHEN

 When my kids cook with me, they always want to taste what we make, whether it’s cookies or vegetables. 

Cooking with your kids has a ton of benefits and can even put an end to picky eating.

When kids feel like they’ve had a hand in making the meal, they’re empowered and more likely to at least try what you’ve made.

So whether you’re preparing the entire holiday dinner or just making a dish or two, get your kids in the kitchen.

If cooking isn’t your thing, however, there are plenty of resources available like the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. 

Check out my honest review here

Holidays With Picky Eaters

5. LET IT GO 

If you’re stressed out, your kids will definitely sense it. 

Do your best to relax and loosen up about what they choose—and refuse— to eat during the holidays. 

I’m not suggesting you let them load up on sugar and not eat anything else but it’s a losing battle to expect them to eat those strange new vegetables or try that new piece of fish on their plates. 

Your kids may actually surprise you, however, and be willing to try new foods that grandma offers them or they see the other kids at the table eating. 

Either way, go with the flow and pick up your normal healthy eating routine the next day.

Author Details
Julie Revelant teaches parents how to raise children who are healthy, adventurous eaters. Through blog posts and videos, her goal is to shift the conversation from short-term, problem picky eating to lifelong, healthy eating and healthy futures. Julie has written for FoxNews.com, FIRST for Women magazine, WhatToExpect.com, EverydayHealth.com, RD.com, TheBump.com, Care.com, and Babble.com.

Julie Revelant