Skip to content

Who are Anxious Eaters?

Who are these anxious eaters? You know these children. They are worried about eating, pretty “picky” and eat a very narrow diet with very specific foods. They may only eat one brand of macaroni and cheese and may like their waffles round. They may like any food with a crunch, but no wet foods. Their preferred cheese is a particular string cheese, but only white, not yellow! They may like fast food nuggets from only one restaurant and they must be fresh and warm. They may drink milk, but only from their special cup and apple juice from the green box. Their yogurt may need to be one flavor, brand, color and must be eaten directly out of that container, not a bowl! They may have no vegetables or fruits in sight. Your attempts to introduce new foods, different foods, healthier foods, are met with resistance and maybe even tears. There is lots of worry about foods! Parents of these anxious eaters describe their children as well beyond typical picky.

Some children are anxious about ANY type of change at mealtimes. They might become upset when their parent cuts their familiar toast into a different shape. They may reject yogurt if it has been served in a bowl, and not out of the container. Other anxious eaters are really worried about new foods. Every anxious eater experiences their own specific kind of worry. While worry can be seen as the common thread, different children worry about different aspects of eating and mealtimes. And we know, when children worried, anxious about eating, mealtimes becomes stressed for all!

Do These Children Sound Familiar?

Anxious Eaters, Anxious Mealtimes
Practical and Compassionate Strategies for Mealtime Peace

Soon to be available:

Now available in spanish, thanks to gaby herzog. Email her for purchase information.

Purchase the greek version here.


Marsha Dunn Klein wrote this book for parents and professionals who know and love children who are picky eaters, really picky eaters, really, really picky, anxious eaters! She knows when children do not eat, cannot eat, and are really worried about eating, mealtimes become stressed for everyone. Hence, anxious eaters and anxious mealtimes. With almost five decades of experience in the field of pediatric feeding, she shares practical and compassionate ideas to support success for families and clinicians. She describes how to:

  • find peace and enjoyment during mealtimes;

  • find ways to help anxious eaters fearlessly try new foods;

  • navigate the sensory variations in food smells, tastes, textures, looks and sounds; and

  • help anxious eaters (and their parents) develop a more positive relationship with food.

Because parents are absolutely central to mealtime success, the author incorporates parent insights throughout the book. Using encouragement, novelty, and fun, she invites everyone back to the table with a sensitive and pressure-free approach.


Brady’s Tips

When Brady, our Get Permission Ambassador, was eight, he decided he wanted to help other children who were worried about trying new foods. After learning how to try new foods in a Re-Define TRY it way, he (and his sister) started making videos. He is a natural! Check out this Anxious Eaters group for more of Brady’s videos and post your own!