Practice Before LeavingIf you plan to go to an exotic location, do some research about the menus at local restaurants. If there is nothing your child will eat from the local cuisine options, start practicing and preparing your child for what options will be available while on vacation. For example, start making meals that are common to the area you are visiting and have those for family dinners before leaving on vacation. Hopefully over time your child will become accustomed to the cuisine and eating while on vacation will not be an issue.
Also, do not pick from the menu or make suggestions for your child. Let the child take his or her time and decide what to eat. This is the best option to get a picky eater to eat, mostly because the choice is something interesting to their little taste buds.
Make It A GameTurn dining into a fun game by giving your child a challenge. Tell your child you want to make a record of which restaurants offered the best foods while on vacation. While eating, ask your child to vote on the food they are eating, including presentation, taste and quantity. Make a chart where your child can keep track of what they eat at different restaurants, giving small reviews of what they liked and disliked about the meal. This may encourage picky eaters to try new things just to fill up the chart.
Offer Your FoodOnce your child sees you eating the entrée you ordered, chances are he or she might be a little curious. Offer your child a taste of everything on your plate. You never know, he or she may start liking a new dish just because you offered a little taste from your plate.
Also, if the child is hesitant to eat something after it has been ordered, ask if you can take a bite. Express how good you think the food is and say that he or she should definitely try it.
Also, check with your server and see if substitutions from the side menu are allowed. If so, your child can pick and choose which items he or she wants to go with the meal. Not all restaurants will do this, but some will to help satisfy picky eaters.
Ask The ChefIf there is nothing on the menu your child will eat, remember that it never hurts to ask the chef if something special can be cooked for your child. It might be possible for the chef to make a grilled cheese sandwich or some pasta topped with only butter. Many restaurants will do this to keep kids happy and the parents coming back.
An enjoyable vacation is still possible, even when traveling with a picky eater. It is just a matter of doing some research before leaving and working with your child in an attempt to find something that will work. You never know, you may discover your child is not as picky about his or her eating habits as you thought. Going on vacation might open up doors to get your child to try new food items and expand the list of foods he or she is will to enjoy.
Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.