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Nurturing Nutritious Noshing: 3 Tips To Revamp Your Finicky Eater's Snacking Habits


How many times have your kids asked for snacks today? Are we in the double digits yet?

It can feel frustrating when your kids want to snack all day, and the snacks that they’re asking for might not be the healthiest options. How do you get your kids to eat healthier snacks, not just the sugary, processed snacks they keep asking about? This is a really common struggle and if this sounds like your house, please know that you’re not alone.

Here are 3 tips to help picky eaters cultivate better snacking habits.

TIP 1:Build around what they already like - Pair a processed food item with a whole food. If your children are usually having processed and packaged snacks that you’d like to get away from, you can try adding a whole food option like fruit, veggie, nuts or seeds instead of just taking the packaged snack away. Ideas include:

● Crumble their favorite cookie or granola bar over a lower sugar vanilla Greek yogurt

● Add carrots + a dip like guacamole or ranch to a snack of tortilla chips

● Serve sliced banana + peanut or sunflower seed butter on a toasted waffle

How it helps: Pairing a familiar favorite with a new food is helpful for gently exposing picky eaters to foods that might be out of their comfort zone for now. Keep the pressure off and just make the experience fun.

TIP 2: Try different forms of the same food: It takes anyone a while to get used to something that feels new. Let’s use carrots as an example. There are many ways to offer carrots such as baby carrots, pureed pouches with carrots in the mix, shredded carrots for a different texture, roasted carrots for a different flavor, and even peels of a large carrot (feel free to call them ribbons!).

How it helps: Each time your child has a chance to become familiar with a new food in a low-pressure environment, it helps to build shape their expectations. Eventually when they know what to expect, they may be comfortable with trying it (and maybe even like it!).

TIP 3: Try offering new foods at snack time instead of during dinner: If you’re working on new foods, snack time offers a great opportunity because if your child does not choose to eat much (or any) of the new food, you know that dinner is right around the corner. When offering new foods at snack time, keep the portions of the new food small. It makes the experience less overwhelming.

How it helps: Let's face it, by the time dinner arrives, everyone tends to be a bit more tired and less patient, so trying to make progress with new foods can feel more difficult. Offering new foods at snack time takes the pressure off, especially if your child chooses not to eat the new food.

New foods at snack time can look like....

  • Simple Tortilla Roll Up: Warm a flour tortilla + little cheese + a new food like avocado or hummus, fold in the sides and roll. The texture of creamy avocado/hummus will blend with the melted cheese.

  • 2-3 cherry tomatoes, or baby cucumbers alongside a snack of cheese and crackers

  • A homemade trail mix which includes their favorite cereal + chocolate chips + a new nut like a walnut, or a seed like pumpkin, or a new dried fruit like dried blueberries.

  • Smoothies are a great way to make new textures and flavors more acceptable. Have your child watch as you add a small amount of veggie into their favorite smoothie blend - carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, baby spinach, frozen cauliflower rice all go beautifully in a smoothie. They will be surprised to find out while they may change the color of the smoothie, it doesn’t taste any different than before.

  • Check out two of my go-to snack recipes on this website fudgy blackbean brownies and pumpkin chocolate chip bread. They are healthy and delicious takes on familiar favorites.

Being a parent in an environment with so many snack options can be very difficult. By partnering with a registered dietitian, you will learn how to conquer snack time to nourish your family’s health…even at snack time!


Additional Helpful Resources On This Site:

Sign up for a FREE trial of my meal plans, no no credit card required. The Simple Eats plan is filled with recipes with a short list of ingredients. Perfect if you are living in an off campus apartment. Search through the library of recipes to find your top 10 favs that you can cook with your eye's shut. Perfect for those weeks when your workload is high.

If you are interested in learning more, or scheduling a discovery call with Ellen Petrosino, MS, RDN click here.

*Disclaimer: Ellen Petrosino Consulting has no affiliation with any of the mentioned brands on this website.



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