The “No Thank You Bowl” for Picky Eaters

In order for your child to learn to like new things, you have to first offer them but what if just seeing a new food on their plate causes a huge meltdown?

This is a common problem amongst parents, especially those with picky eaters. The good news is that there is a simple way to help reduce new-food-related-meltdowns.


Let me introduce you to the No Thank You Bowl!

This is a simple but effective way to help your little one keep that unwanted food on the table, while still having the “power” to get it off their plate.

By offering an empty bowl (or plate, or even napkin) you do a few things.

1. You get your child to interact with that food. Just touching a new food can be a huge step for some kids! (If they won’t even touch it, keep reading. I have tips for that too)

2. You give them the perceived “power” to remove this food from their plate resulting in fewer meltdowns.

3. You keep that food visible and accessible just in case they change their minds and decide to try it! Oftentimes, when they want this item off their plate it either goes to your plate, back to the kitchen, or (the worst) on the floor. But by offering this place to them, you prevent the food from being removed completely!


The No Thank You Bowl is a huge asset when it comes to reducing mealtime meltdowns. But let’s say that they “won’t even touch it”, then what?

Time for a few of my other favorite mealtime tools!

Mini Tongs are a simple and fun option for letting your child pick up and remove foods from their plate. This helps them by not requiring them to actually touch the food while still interacting with it in a fun way! Who doesn’t like clicking tongs?

Check out these from Amazon>>

Food Picks or Toothpicks are also another way to let your little one pick up foods to move them. Food picks are so exciting. We love to name ours and give them jobs such as “Can you use Mr. Gerald the Giraffe to help your broccoli walk across the jungle?” Simple, creative play during mealtimes helps to break the tension and focus them on exploring the foods – without pressuring them to eat it.

These food picks from Amazon are some of our favorites >>

When it comes to feeding kids, the key to helping them learn to like new foods is by making them feel safe! Take the pressure off and avoid forcing, bribing, or begging for bites.

Offer them one small piece or spoonful of new foods and if they eat it -great!

If they ignore it- prompt food play!

And if they become upset seeing it – offer them a place to put it beside their plate!

But if you want them to ever learn to like it, you have to keep offering it. Because if you don’t offer it, they don’t get a chance to keep trying!


Information on this site should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. For more information please read our full disclaimer here.


Published by snackswithjax

Sarah is the creator and mom behind "Snacks with Jax", a social media community of over 85,000 parents/caregivers, where she shares her son's meals, nutrition information, and evidence-based tips for feeding children. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition emphasizing in Wellness from Texas Woman's University and years of experience as a culinary instructor working with ages 2+. She has coached hundreds of parents & caregivers through the journey introducing solids to babies and also navigating picky eating with toddlers and older children. Her focus is on establishing a life-long healthy relationship with food for children while also empowering, encouraging, and educating their adult caregivers.

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