Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids    

How to handle a picky eater in a pandemic



Pediatrician-approved tips to get your kid to eat well

Pediatrician-approved tips to get your kid to eat well


If you have a picky eater, you probably have more trouble than usual getting them to eat nutritious food during the pandemic. It’s a stressful time, with less strict scheduling and more chaos, and these factors can make choosy kids even less open to trying healthful food at a time when their lifelong eating habits are being formed.

Rather than throw up your hands and just surrender to a plate of colorless, processed fare, prepared at any old time of the day, pediatrician Dr. Patty Sabey has come up with a helpful list of suggestions to get through this rough patch with the conviction that you are looking out for your kids’ health, despite all the new challenges.  

Parents can use her five strategies to encourage picky eaters to try new things, including a reliable game Dr. Sabey plays with her own kids. That’s right: getting your kid to eat right can be fun.

READ MORE: Working with picky eaters

When the pandemic was declared in March and schools shut down, one of the many things families needed to do overnight was figure out how and when to feed their kids.  Most families I know had so much going on, so much scrambling, they just stocked their pantries and refrigerators with whatever they could find on shelves and, feeling both anxious and sorry for their kids (for a number of reasons), they let any “food rules” slide.

Now that we’re eight months in, and school is back in session both online and, for some, on site, we’re back to a semblance of predictability. Dr. Sabey says sticking to a schedule is especially important. “Sometimes making a list or a simple overview of the schedule for the day with mealtimes, family time, and break time can help your children set some expectations,” she advises. This eases tensions and helps kids be more adventurous with their meals.

Among other helpful tips, Dr. Sabey advises families to eat together, to mix old favorites with new foods, and to go grocery shopping together.

Five Tips
from a pediatrician and mom of four kids

  • In general, stick to a schedule
  • Arrange sit down mealtimes
  • Get the family involved in food planning
  • Add favorites to meals
  • Be creative with food


Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Weeklong FAIR Film Festival 2022

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) Hosts a Film Screening Plus Q&A

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) will kick off the FAIR Film Festival 2022 with an in-person screening of the documentary film I Am A Victor plus a selection of short films on Sunday, June 12 at 1:00pm EDT at Caveat on the lower east side in Manhattan. read more »
  • Keep kids learning during summer

    3 Fun, Easy Ways

    With school out, summertime brings long, carefree days of play and fun. With a little thought and a few supplies, summer is a perfect opportunity to revitalize their innate love of learning that may be a bit squashed after a year of academic pressures, tests and schedules. read more »
  • Take steps to support literacy

    8 ways to inspire children to read

    Reading is a foundation for learning, yet a vast gap exists in access to books for low-income neighborhoods. read more »
  • Sweeten up summer with a frozen, fruity snack

    Try these easy to make ice pops

    Heading to the freezer for a fruity ice pop can transport you from your own backyard to a tropical island, and the experience can be even more rewarding when the tasty treat is homemade. read more »
  • Clean. Drain. Dry. Every Time!

    Help keep invasive species out of our waters

    One of the most effective ways we can all help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species is by following proper procedures for cleaning, draining, and drying watercraft and equipment every time you leave the water. read more »
  • It pays to give

    5 ideas for investing in the world around you

    In a world fraught with social, political and environmental strife, a mindset that involves a more community-driven approach can make a meaningful difference. Each person’s contributions to improve the earth can send a ripple effect that ultimately transforms communities and the people who live within them. read more »
  • Special gifts to make dad smile

    6 great ideas for the man in your life

    Father’s Day brings a special opportunity each year to celebrate the dad in your life, whether it’s spent lighting a grill in the backyard, heading to the golf course or simply relaxing at home. read more »
  • Grocery store savings hacks

    7 tips to help you slash your bill

    As people continue to eat more meals at home, shoppers everywhere are feeling the pinch of increasing prices on nearly every item at the grocery store. read more »
  • Build friendship skills for back-to-school success

    Focus on your kids' social skills

    When thinking about back-to-school season, most people naturally think of academics. However, it’s just as important to focus on social and emotional skills. read more »
  • Protecting children in a digital age

    8 tips to help keep your kids safe online

    Keeping a watchful eye on your kids requires an increasing level of tech savvy many parents find intimidating. Not only are your kids vulnerable to bad actors online, but your family’s personal information could be at risk, as well. read more »