Friday, November 16, 2018


At some point every parent is most likely going to have to deal with a child being a picky eater.  This can be an especially trying situation to deal with during the holidays when family's are taking children to parties and family gatherings.  So what do you do when kids don't want to eat anything off the menu at a Christmas party or the home cooked meal prepared for a family's Thanksgiving dinner? Chef Gigi Gaggero has provided with some tips for handling these situations.

Chef Gigi, the author of FOOD FIGHT: FOR PARENTS OF PICKY EATERS, has a 35 year career where she has coached thousands of children and adults about how to cook and eat better as a nationally recognized expert in children's culinary education. Gaggero is the founder of Kids Culinary Adventures, a professional cooking school for children and teens, and is a frequent guest on Radio Disney as well as contributor to parenting and health magazines. Here are Chef Gigi Gaggero's tips for dads and moms when it comes to handling picky eaters during the holiday season:

  • Let your child get involved with the menu creation. When it comes time to cook a meal, involve the whole family. Kids are more likely to eat what they help prepare!
  • Expose your child to upcoming holiday flavors in advance, so there are no surprises. Our taste buds disappear as we get older. Children have thousands of additional taste buds compared to adults, so flavor sensations, especially bitter flavors, can be extremely overwhelming.
  • Children, like adults, have a natural aversion to bitter foods, which may be a survival measure. Most naturally-occurring poisons taste bitter and initiate a gag reflex. Bitter foods can be made palatable to children by enhancing them with umami.
  • Bribing and coaxing backfire. They teach children to create lists of negative and positive foods, where healthy foods are only viewed as a means to a dessert.
  • Hiding or disguising vegetables in children's favorite meals has negative consequences, with children later rejecting the food they once enjoyed and becoming suspicious of all home cooked meals.
  • Avoid negative comments about food and eating habits. Also don't threaten consequences for not eating food served to kids. This is a surefire way to foster an unhealthy relationship with food and eating.
  • Parents must learn to tell the difference between "food aversion," (ie: picky eating) and "food intolerance," which can be a sign of allergies or other health issues
  • Simple techniques like offering closed choices, understanding the science of flavor, and avoiding negative comments about food choices can create a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
For more information on smart cooking and eating choices when it comes to kids, visit You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. While on social media make sure to follow the on Instagram and Twitter at @Geekdad248. You can find Chef Gigi's book FOOD FIGHT: FOR PARENTS OF PICKY EATERS on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

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