Want healthy meals your kids will love?

MyPlate for the Picky Eater


Teaching balanced eating to children can sometimes be difficult to achieve.  Often, kids want to eat only what they want to eat, and don’t really care or think about eating for nutritional purposes.   My kids get stuck in food ruts, where they want to eat the same thing for every meal days in a row.  Part of children learning and growing is that they are able to make their own food choices.  The role of the parent is to purchase healthy food, prepare it nutritiously, and serve it creatively.  How much and what they eat is the responsibility of the child.

Offering a variety of healthy food choices in a fun and creative way can be a real challenge.  Our goal is to provide resources and tools for parents to do this! One of the most helpful tools for parents to help serve healthy balanced meals and snacks to their children is the MyPlate.  It is a visual reminder at every meal and snack what foods create a balanced meal to provide the most nutrients for children.  This reminder is for parents as well as children.  When children repeatedly see fruits, vegetables, grains and a healthy protein on their plate, they start to create eating habits that will last through their lives.  Even children who are picky will start to develop these habits although they might not eat everything on their plate (or maybe they will only eat one thing on their plate!)  The process of teaching children to like and eat a variety of healthy food is not a quick fix.  Just like teaching children how to have good manners, or how to read, or how to share with other children takes lots of time, patience and practice, good eating habits requires much of the same patience and practice.

Using MyPlate to teach children these good habits is a simple, convenient and effective tool that can be used multiple times per day and the results will amaze you.  We also have lots of ideas of different ways to prepare fruits and vegetables to help parents fill the different sections of the MyPlate with healthy and delicious variety.  For parents who need entire meal ideas served on MyPlate, see here.

To Fill the Fruit Section


cabbage apple salad

Delicious Fruit Salad

fruit salsa with cinamon chips

Fruit Salsa

Real Peach Donut Rings


Strawberries with creamy lemon dip

Frozen Fruit Kabobs

To Fill the Vegetable Section


broccoli in hummus for kids

Broccoli Trees on Sandy Beaches

Mixed Veggies with Yummy Cheese Sauce

Cheesy Cauliflower Boats


Tiger Stripe Snack

Crunchy Green Beans

Resources for Parents and Educators

MyPlate Products My Plate Meal Ideas Picky Eater Resources

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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If “How much and what they eat is the responsibility of the child”, then they shouldn’t need a divided plate to guide them. Reading through your 21 day picky eater transformation filled with pressure tactics makes me nauseated. Blindfold a kid, really?? Not a very good way to develop trust. If people want good advice, go to Ellen Satter, Katja Rowell or Mealtime Hostage.

We are actually fans of the experts you mentioned. But I can assure you there are many ways to introduce kids to new foods! We have had hundreds of parents report that their kids are asking for more balanced meals using the divided plates. It’s a great guide for kids who learn visually what a healthy meal should look like. The blindfold activity is a fun game to guess what food the child is trying, not a way to “trick” or “coerce” as you assume. We even played it our my daughters 13th birthday party and all the girls had a great time.
Clearly our site is not a fit for you, and that’s fine, but we have many parents who have been able to turn their picky eaters into great eaters, including our own kids. So, why say one strategy is nauseating? Why limit ideas for parents when different kids learn differently? It’s so harsh.

I agree there are many ways to introduce kids to new foods.  You were just contradictory in your message. You state

Part of children learning and growing is that they are able to make their own food choices. The role of the parent is to purchase healthy food, prepare it nutritiously, and serve it creatively.  How much and what they eat is the responsibility of the child.  
then contradict yourself throughout the rest of the pitch for you plate and throughout your 21 day plan. A plate that says protein or veggies, helps the parent feel like they are doing their job, but it does not help the child choose the how much or what. Pressure does not work with kids and food and many times makes things much worse. Blindfolding may have been a fun birthday party game, but it is not a way to develop trust in a selective eater. Ask Ellen Satter about that if you aren’t convinced. I am looking out for the children here, I am sorry if I hurt your feelings. As you know there are many people who force feed their kids and play dangerous games that are counterproductive to providing a healthy relationship with food. I was offering your readers some great suggestions of further resources(Ellen Satter, Dr. Katja Rowell and Mealtime Hostage) that might be beneficial to them.

I was wondering how I could help my 4 year old eat more things…He used to be a great eater until 18 months old, now I can only get him to eat a few different items……It’s very frustrating and everytime I try to get him to try something he fights me he will hold a piece of food in his mouth for hours to avoid having to eat it, or if he does than he gags himself and throws up!!