Like many fussy eaters, Ollie in our TV show, Ollie The Boy Who Became What He Ate, has ridiculous excuses for why he can’t eat something. If it’s watermelons, he can’t stand the seeds, if it’s asparagus, it’s aspara-gross! Get a peek at the show HERE 

Do you have your own version of Ollie? I found one study that showed 4 overlapping behavior types of picky eaters. Can you spot your eater?

1. Sensory Eaters: Some kids don’t like certain textures and smells. For instance, food that is mushy, bitter or stringy, like beans or squash or slimy mangoes. Try very small bits of these foods to make them familiar.  

2. Selective eaters: These are children who don’t like to try anything new, or when it’s mixed together or have complex ingredients. You can try to show them the ingredients one by one as you cook. Or another strategy is inviting friends who are good eaters who can positively influence them.  

3. General perfectionists: These kids don’t like food touching other bits of food and have little variety in their diet. Try serving their food separately – peas apart from potatoes, and put a sauce on the side or in a bowl. You can use the plates with small sections that keep food separate in little compartments.    

4. Behavioral responders: These are children want to have food in a very specific way. There is only one “right way” and if not – it’s wrong. The crusts must be cut off! It’s white cheese not yellow! It’s best to find ways to help them feel good about trying new tastes. Or try involving them in prep or cooking to expand their food repertoire[1].     

Tip – Introducing new foods in repeatable, tiny amounts is proven to work[2]. It can be simply on their plate and visually there, then try and encourage a sniff, then a tiny taste. Very small steps for introducing new foods has been a proven recipe for success.

Equally there is not ‘one way’ or ‘one behavior’ so best to try multiple methods! Start your food adventure by downloading our great Potato Face Activity Sheet!

Printable Coloring Sheet: Ollie & Me: Potato-Faces!
Click here to download printable PDF

Recipe Tip Try our Baked Potato Bar and let the kids serve themselves from your healthy topping selection! Kids get a sense of ownership, both from helping prepare the toppings and serving themselves. This way they can create their own potato-powered ‘creations’. Some kids like their food to not touch other foods on their plate, so a potato can be cut up and each piece of potato can have its own individual ‘topping’. Here’s an opportunity to have a tiny taste, lick or smell of something new. It all helps make a new food familiar in a fun, no-pressure way.

Have fun opening a self-service Baked Potato Bar and tell us how it went!

Baked Potato Bar  

Bake a potato and then lay out small bowls with different toppings so kids can make their own choices. You can try small potatoes so they are child-friendly sizes and faster to cook. Simply wash, cut in half and put in an oven safe dish and cook at 325 for 45 mins -1 hr until soft to touch.

Topping ideas: Cut or grate the following and put in small bowls

  • Grated cheese – cheddar or try
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt 
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped up broccoli – Ollie’s favorite super-power food!
  • Green peas (quick cheat is frozen, 2-3 mins in boiling water)
  • Corn (as above or cut from a fresh cob)
  • Shredded carrots 
  • Cooked meats like chicken, salmon or tuna

This gives even the fussiest eater the power to add (or avoid) their favorites. 

Share your own Potato meals with us and the week’s top winner will get a signed copy of our storybook Ollie: The Boy Who Became What He Ate! Join our conversation on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Making every meal an adventure!

Messy fun! Sheena x


[1] [U of I study describes behaviors, preferences of picky eaters]

[2] [How to Get Your Picky Eater to Try New Foods]