Tips for feeding your picky little gobbler on Thanksgiving Day

Will this year’s Thanksgiving meal be feast or famine for your child? Moms of Picky Eaters (MOPE), like me, dread another food-focused holiday where well-intentioned relatives shove a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes in your toddler’s mouth and wonder why he won’t just “try a bite.”

Here are 10 tips to help your child (and you) enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner or at least get through it! MOPE – Nope, don’t mope!

  1. Have a pre-Thanksgiving feast to introduce your child to unfamiliar foods that will be served.
  2. Don’t feed your child anything an hour to two hours before eating. The likelihood he’ll try new foods will be higher.
  3. Invent fun names for the Thanksgiving foods on your table. The appetizers, entrees, and desserts can have a theme, e.g. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sesame Street, Paw Patrol, etc. Put a baggie of pre-made name tents or toothpicks with flags in your diaper bag. You could also imagine the foods saying funny things like: “Because you know I’m all about that baste.” I’m stuffed.” “Piece out.” “Roll with it.”
  4. Create a “I tried it!” foods checklist with “Liked it”, “Loved it” and “Need to try again” columns. Reward your courageous eater with stickers or other small prizes.
  5. Carry along a bib in case your little Pilgrim or Native American spits out an unwanted food.
  6. Get a bottle of red. Red ketchup for your babe and red wine for you. Many kids like ketchup, and you can squirt a little on scary meats! Barbecue sauce works too.
  7. Bring a bag of microwaveable rice to toddler-ize the turkey main dish. Chop up the turkey into bite sized pieces and mix into the white rice. Dinner is served.
  8. Worst case scenario: Pack a few items from home that you know your kids will eat. No one wants a hangry kiddo. Just be sure the food items don’t require you to be using the host’s kitchen! Ideas: yogurt, fresh fruit or fruit cups, cereal mini cups, etc.
  9. Print Thanksgiving themed coloring pages and bring some washable crayons or no-mess coloring books/doodle pads, if your kiddos won’t sit still at the table.
  10. Seat your child as far away from you as possible, preferably near a kid-loving childless aunt/uncle or a doting grandparent. Haha. Just kidding. Not really.
  • A Final Thought – From the Pillow
  • Holidays can bite for parents of picky eaters.

    So before you tell everyone (and everything) to “go pluck yourself”, while you stuff a roll in your mouth, try one or more of the above tips.

    Do you have a picky eater? Did any of these Turkey Day tips work? What helped, what didn’t? I’d love to hear your Thanksgiving stories.

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