Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parents

Got a picky eater? Join the club... Check out these tips and strategies from some of our favourite Hollywood parents.

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parents

Celebrity Parents: Picky eating tips and strategies

Pre-dinner veggie platters

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Garner in New York a few summers ago, and we talked about getting kids to eat their veggies. Here's a great tip she gave me (which totally works): "I’ve been so into keeping fresh vegetables out on the counter, cut up, while I cook. Because you know how everyone’s so hungry before dinner, so I like just having it out, no pressure. Eventually, the sugar snap peas and carrots and bell peppers…they go!" So true!

Read on for more great picky-eater tips and strategies from celebrity moms! >>>>>

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: Parisa/FameFlynet

Trust they'll be OK

Amy Poehler admitted in a recent interview that her sons, Archie and Abel, aren't the best eaters.

“I’m trying to slowly introduce them to complex food," she says. "They’re tough, they’re picky eaters.”

"Kids have such little control, and what they put into their bodies, what they eat, is a really good way for them to exercise control," she says. "So sometimes you have to just let them do their thing and trust that they’re going to be OK, and if they go to bed hungry they’re going to be OK."

Read more: Hollywood's funniest parents>

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: Diane Cohen/FameFlynet


Start them early

Dad-of-four Matt Damon's tips? Putting healthy food in front of them often, starting young and salads at dinner.

“It’s all about getting enough healthy food in front of them every three hours,” he says in an interview with People.

“My wife and I introduced [veggies] to them at a very young age, and they just don’t know any different,” he explains. “Luckily, I found out all three of my youngest girls love broccoli.... Sometimes they’re the ones bribing me to eat more of my vegetables.”

“My mother made a salad with every single meal we had," he adds. "So I was raised thinking that’s how you eat. It’s a good balance that I’m trying to teach to my own kids.”

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: CHP/FameFlynet

Loosen up the reins now and then

“I tried to start [the] off with all of the right foods but as they got older, the lure of Oreos and cotton candy outweighed the lure of carrots with hummus,” Gwyneth Paltrow writes on her GOOP website. "And that’s all a part of childhood and I love Oreos, too, so I completely understand."

"I try to make sure that what is on their plate at home is nutritious and tasty and then I loosen way up on the reins when we are out," she continues. "They love a brown rice stir-fry but they also love their 'Coke of the week.' My daughter gravitates toward fresh fruit and raw nuts but will inhale a bag of hot Cheetos at the airport. It's all about balance."

Read more: GOOP, Honest, Flower: Celebrity moms and their lifestyle brands>

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: API/FameFlynet

Make soup!

Feeding two girls hasn't been easy for Melissa McCarthy. "At breakfast, Ben and I battle to get food into the girls," she tells Good Housekeeping. "Georgie requires a full floor show just to keep her in the chair."

Melissa relies on a go-to soup recipe for getting veggies into her kids. "We've tried this recipe with fresh vegetables," she says, "but it's just as good with frozen—and it saves you time." Melissa makes sure she always has it ready to go for easy, healthy snacks and full meals (she suggests adding brown rice and Parmesan cheese to make a yummy stew). Check out Melissa's 3-step veggie soup here.

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: KM/FameFlynet


Money, money, money, money!

Heidi Klum has admitted to taking the bribery route to get her kids to eat well. "We make an effort every morning—we peel pineapples, apples, lemons, bananas, kiwis, ginger and berries and we make delicious smoothies," she says. “Some of my kids don’t love it so I decided I would pay them a dollar if they finish their drink. All of the money goes into their piggy banks, they have collected a bunch of money.... What’s good for them is good for me as well."

"Some parents may think that's wrong, but at least I know they've eaten something healthy," she explains. "Their lunch boxes (containing more healthy food) come back empty, so I don't really know what they've eaten. It feels like they earned their money."

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: KM/FameFlynet

Bribe...and get sneaky

“I’m all about bribery when it comes to my little kids eating,” Sheryl Crowe tells People. “If you’ll try this, Wyatt, you can have some of this.’ That’s how we do it."

Sheryl's also a proponent of sneaking veggies into their food faves. “Every kid wants to eat mac and cheese, not great mac and cheese, but the neon orange mac and cheese,” she says in another interview with the mag. “So it’s been really creative, it’s been a challenge, but it’s been really fun because you can sneak all kinds of healthy things into the food.”

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: KM/FameFlynet

Tough love

When it comes to picky eaters, says Jamie Oliver, "we are too subservient to our kids—you have to be tough."

"To love a child is saying no sometimes," he continues. "It is much easier to give in, but the minute you give in consistently you are in trouble."

"My family isn’t perfect," he adds. "We’ve struggled with the 'no electronics at the table' rule for older kids, yes, and for Petal she is edging toward being a little bit of spoiled brat—everyone wants to placate here the louder she screams, and I have to admit that sometimes to have some peace while we eat she will get to watch Fireman Sam on the TV." 

Read more: In the kitchen with Jamie Oliver>

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: FameFlynetUK/FameFlynet


It's a family affair

For mom-of-two Sarah Michelle Gellar, it's all about gardening and cooking together, and cultivating a love of green juice.

"We have a garden, and we grow everything ourselves and then make juices," she tells Us Weekly. "Charlotte loves kale juice and kale chips, so we try to make [meal] a family thing!"

Read more: Former child stars all grown up>

sarah michelle gellar vaccinesPhoto: Juan Rico/FameFlynet

Treat day!

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves strive for balance in their kids' diet by giving them (what we like to call in my house) a treat day. "Every Friday, they get to have whatever they want to eat, whether it's burgers or whatever," Camila tells People

"I think that kids need direction and guidance," she continues. "We keep it very healthy for them, but they have their off days. If they're at a birthday party, I'm not going to tell them not to eat the cake when everyone else is eating the cake. My son doesn't even care for sweets. I find that kids really gravitate toward what you teach them."

Read more: Older dads: Celebrities we love!>

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: KM/FameFlynet

Don't force it

Mom-of-two Alison Sweeney is big on not forcing her kids to eat what they don't like. But, she cooks one meal for the whole family, and there's no dessert unless a vegetable is ingested.

"I'm not making a different meal for my children and for myself," Alison tells People. She even devised a more adult dish out of her kids favourite veggie—peas.

"I'm not going to force them to eat asparagus if they don't like it," she says. But, the Biggest Loser host and The Mommy Diet author adds, "they don't get dessert unless they finish their vegetables!"

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: Parisa/FameFlynet


Mush it

When her son, Flynn Bloom, was a toddler, Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr would mush a variety of veggies into one dish to ensure he got all his nutrients in.

"I do steamed sweet potato with broccoli and baby spinach all mushed up in there together, and he really loves that," she tells Fit Celeb (in a May 2012 interview). "And then in the morning, I’ll do yogurt with blueberries and raspberries all mushed up together. It’s all about the mushing! But he does have some little rice snacks that he snacks on throughout the day. I really make sure everything is organic. He drinks coconut water."

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: JD/FameFlynet

More Celebrity Candy fun

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Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Matt Damon! Check out these smart, curious and hilarious parenting tips and strategies from the stars.

Picky eaters: Fun tips from celebrity parentsPhoto: KM/FameFlynet
This article was originally published on May 02, 2014

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