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Size matters! And no, bigger isn’t always better.

Smaller food portions are a lot less intimidating for little kids. It’s true when serving favorites, and especially so when introducing new or less preferred foods.

Kids don’t want to eat or even meet huge portions of brand new foods.

When you put a big old heaping portion of a new food on the plate of a skeptical eater with ASD they’re going to think they need to eat it ALL. And they won’t like it!

The Best Portion Size for Picky Eaters

The smaller the better when it comes to serving new foods to picky eaters.

Small sizes are less threatening and more manageable (plus less wasteful!).

When serving a new food at a meal, keep it as small as a grain of rice This is important for an extreme picky eater who is truly uncomfortable having new foods around.. Once your kid is okay eating that tiny portion, increase to the size of a pea (a less severe picky eater might be able to start with a pea-sized food). Slowly increase the portion as your child is comfortable until he or she is eating an age-appropriate portion.

Here a few ways to keep portion sizes manageable so your picky eater is more likely to try new foods.

How to Serve New Foods to Picky Eaters

Pick Small Plates

Our mind likes to see a full plate, so regardless of the size we tend to fill it up.  Dishing your kids dinner on a smaller plate means that even if the plate is full, the portion won’t be too large for them.

I love these kid-sized plates:

Silicone divided toddler plates

7-inch eco friendly plates

Board-game style dinner tray

Stainless steel compartment plate

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Serve Meals Family Style

Instead of portioning out meals for your family, try placing the serving dishes on the table to serve the meal family style. This way each eater can serve themselves and pick the portion size that looks right for them. If your children are old enough they can serve themselves. If they’re not at that stage yet, let them dictate how much you put on their plate. Sometimes little ones will overestimate and end up with too much on their plates, but that’s okay. Portion sizes are a learning curve and the important thing is that the child is in charge of the portion.

Create a Learning Plate

This plate can contain small portions of new foods. Keep it on the table during a meal. There’s no pressure for anyone to eat from it, but do encourage anyone who is interested to touch, lick, hold, and/or smell the new food. Preparing small portions also eliminates food waste and can keep food costs down.

Use a Tiny Tasting Spoon

A teeny tasting spoon is a foolproof way to serve little bites of new foods. You can serve directly off of the spoon or use the spoon to create the perfect tasting size. I also like to keep a stash of disposable tasting spoons in the kitchen so young helpers can easily taste as they’re cooking. Try these tiny rainbow spoons or wooden biodegradable spoons.


  • Large food portions can be off-putting for small kids, especially selective eaters

  • Try keeping all portions of food kid-sized at home by using smaller plates, serving meals family style, offering a tasting plate, and using small tasting spoons


The next time you’re introducing a new food to your child, reduce the portion. Big time!