A Manifesto for Parents of Picky Eaters

All children are picky eaters. Even my child, who frequently requests more vegetables in his lunchbox, exhibits behavior that is “picky” when it comes to what he will, or will not, eat. He likes peanut butter, but would never even consider eating a peanut. But the issue of whether or not a child is a “picky eater” is really a question of degrees, and who is judging. The “who is judging” component of this equation is really where the tension resides.

Motherlode writer Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic recently penned, what could only be called, a manifesto for parents of picky eaters. Lucianovic tackles the issue and, does not offer 5 easy solutions to get your kid to eat anything, but levels the crosshairs at fellow parents who invest their time in judging and condemning one another for their selective children. Some parents, she says, divide the world into two groups: the parents of picky eaters and the parents of non-picky eaters (can you guess who takes the moral high ground on this one?). Lucianovic (as a former picky eater herself) comes to the defense of the beleaguered parents and says, “In our food-obsessed, competitive culture, what our children eat has become yet another yardstick used by parents to make them feel superior to other parents.” And they also have to worry that their children’s pickiness makes them appear as bad, or inadequate, parents.

In a “stop the madness” moment Lucianovic appeals to parent’s good graces and lost sense of community, while imploring them to offer support to one another, rather than condemnation. Many of us know the frustration in having a child who will only eat things that are brown, or things that look as if they have no organic tie to the earth, and having other parents level judgment does not help the situation one morsel. The trick is to accept, support, and move on. Sound advice.

Do you struggle with a picky eater in your family? Do you feel judged by others for what your child will or will not eat? How do contend with the volunteered advice and admonishments?

How to Calm a Parent Overly Concerned with Their Child’s Eating
6 Tips to Raise Healthy Eaters
Are Picky Eating Habits Genetic?


Val M.
Val M5 years ago


Aud Nordby
Aud nordby5 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Nicole Bergeron
Nicole Bergeron6 years ago

I babysit a girl about 5 years old, and she is NOT picky, she wants to try everything. Her mother told me that it is because vegetables were her her very first food for her first solid meal and she has been making sure that it is in every lunch and dinner since.

So start them early, make sure it is bright and colourful, have variety and be aware that some children are in tune with their body and will not eat something that makes them sick, so if you suspect something, upset stomach making it so they won't eat something, or food allergy/intolerance, or something else, remember to have them check for that.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

i have NEVER been picky. I like to try everything. and even as a child i loved to try new foods and would eat anything set before me. my son however is not quite so easily pleased. he changes his mind at every meal. uber frustrating. my mantra is JUST TRY IT. his? NO

a             y m.
g d c6 years ago


Stephanie L.
Stephanie L.6 years ago

Eric -- thank you so much for this piece and for sharing my manifesto. I'd love to send you a copy of my new book -- Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eater's Quest to Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate -- but I can't find a way to email you!

Heather M
Heather Marv6 years ago

It can be difficult when a child is very picky because one is concerned for them getting enough nutrition.

Angie B.
Angela B6 years ago

I felt judged by teachers at the school...not other parents!

Amber Martingale
Angela Roquemore6 years ago