Thanksgiving, a holiday full of elaborate food traditions--can be extra challenging for parents of picky eaters.  Who wants a holiday dinner turned into a battle zone?


Here are some tips to appease picky eaters without sacrificing nutrition, straying from Thanksgiving traditions, or creating extra work.


Choose at least one food you know your child will like.  This way your child is guaranteed to eat something during the meal; it also shows your child you care about his or her preferences.


Engage your child in meal planning.  Ask if he or she would be interested in helping plan the Thanksgiving feast.  Tell your child about any foods you are definitely going to include, a turkey as a protein and stuffing as a grain.  Ask what kind of vegetable we should include?  How about a fruit.  A child who helps choose a food that will be offered is much more likely to actually eat it.


Once a food is accepted, find similarly colored, flavored, or textured food bridges to expand the variety of foods your child will eat.  For example, if your child likes pumpkin pie, try including mashed sweet potatoes on his or her Thanksgiving plate.


Often kids think that they won't like a food before trying it. By making a Thanksgiving dish look, smell, and taste delicious you up the the odds that your child will try it out like it, and return for more.  Do this by adding fragrant ingredients like nutmeg and cinnamon to cooked apples or preparing a veggie tray with the vegetables arranged in the shop of a turkey.


Keep the meal relaxing and enjoyable.  Know you have prepared a balanced meal and taken many efforts to engage your child in the process--increasing the chances of there being at least one food that is liked.  You have done your job.  Try not to worry if and what your child is eating.