Navigating Thanksgiving with Picky Eaters

picky eaters thanksgiving Nov 05, 2023
Navigating Picky Eaters

For parents with picky eaters in the family, Thanksgiving can be a bit challenging. Here are some ideas for you can accommodate picky eaters and still make Thanksgiving – and all the other holiday feasts – enjoyable. 

Communicate and Involve Your Picky Eater

Before planning your Thanksgiving menu, talk to your picky eater about their food preferences. Ask them what dishes they might be willing to try or if there are any particular foods they enjoy during the holiday season. Involving them in the decision-making process can make them feel more engaged and open to trying new things.

Offer Familiar Favorites

While it's wonderful to introduce new dishes and flavors during Thanksgiving, it's also essential to include some familiar favorites on the table. Traditional items like mashed potatoes, turkey, and dinner rolls can serve as safe options for picky eaters while allowing them to feel a part of the celebration.

Create a Build-Your-Plate Approach

Set up a "build-your-plate" station with various components of the meal separately. For example, have a platter of sliced turkey, a bowl of mashed potatoes, a plate of vegetables, and a variety of sauces and condiments. This way, picky eaters can assemble their plates with the foods they prefer, giving them a sense of control over their meal.

Sneak in Nutrients

Consider incorporating nutritious ingredients into dishes that your picky eaters already enjoy. For example, you can add pureed vegetables like carrots or cauliflower to mashed potatoes or blend spinach into a creamy macaroni and cheese sauce. These subtle additions can boost the nutritional value of the meal without your child even noticing.

Try Fun Thanksgiving-Themed Recipes

Get creative with Thanksgiving-themed recipes that can entice picky eaters to try new foods. For example, you can make "Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs" by shaping ground turkey into mini turkey shapes. Serve them with a cranberry sauce dip for added fun. Pinterest and recipe websites are excellent sources for such creative ideas.

Encourage Tasting Portions

Ask your picky eater to take a small "tasting portion" of any unfamiliar dishes. This gentle approach can help them become more open to trying new foods without feeling overwhelmed. You can even turn it into a fun game by awarding points or prizes for tasting new items.


By employing these strategies and experimenting with creative recipes, you can make the holiday meal a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone. 

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