How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat

How to get a picky toddler to eat is one of the challenges parents of such kids face everyday. We all know the importance of food to a developing child. So, it is often a concern when a baby is picky with their food.

In many cases, the toddler may be picky but prefer a treat or type of food that is less nutritious. In some other cases, the baby does not want to eat at all. You may see them complain about the smell, texture, or taste of the food.

As you know, your toddler needs to eat in order to promote healthy development. So, what do you need to do to ensure this? In this article, we have discussed how to get a picky toddler to eat and everything else you need to know. Let us get started – shall we?


How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat

Many parents and caregivers make mistakes when trying to get a picky toddler to eat. If you do not do it right, you will lose the battle and risk having a malnourished toddler in your hands.

There are millions of parents around the world who are facing the same challenge with their toddlers. So, you are not alone, and there are tested and trusted ways to handle the situation adequately. We have highlighted some tips on how to get a picky toddler to eat. Check them out!

5 Tips on How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat

1. Respect the Appetite Decisions of Your Toddler

It all starts with respect – doesn’t it? So, you need to respect the decision of your toddler – that is, whether or not the baby has an appetite. What this means is that you should not force or hit your toddler to eat when they are not hungry.

Doing this may make matters worse and lead to a power tussle or fight. It is not good to make meal times a battle because this will make your toddler less interested in meal times and eating. So, rather than engage in a struggle, respect their decisions and serve them just a small portion of food at intervals.

2. Maintain a Routine That Works For You

It is always helpful to stick to a routine that works. Like, why should you try out other things when you notice what works for you? Try to reduce their intake of milk, juice, or snacks and monitor the time of the day when they are hungry. Do they want snacks in the morning, after waking up, or around noon? That is the period you should make your meal time and ensure that there is food for your baby to eat.

3. Be Patient When It Involves New Meals

If you are introducing your toddler to a new diet, then you would need to be patient with them. You should try out the food in their presence first and give them the impression that it is delicious. Then, you would need to walk them through the meal patiently and offer it to them in bits. Also, for new meals, you should pay attention to how they appear because toddlers often eat what appeals to them.

4. Do Not Be Quick To Make Alternatives

Yes, I understand that parents and caregivers are always easily worried when their toddler is not eating. However, within a few seconds, you are already preparing another meal or offering them their favourite snack.

No, you should not do this – at least, not all the time. If you always create an alternative whenever your toddler rejects the original meal, then they will continue. Encourage them to understand that meal time is mealtime, and they have to eat whatever is on the menu.

5. Make Mealtime Fun

You should always make mealtime fun for your baby. Also, make sure to always take your time to make the meals – especially the vegetables, look enticing. For instance, always cut broccoli into exciting shapes and dip them in a sauce before serving. Get a cookie cutter and make every meal look like a cookie or animated characters.

Also, make sure that each meal is made up of a variety of colours to make it more enticing to the baby. When meal time is a fun time, your baby will enjoy eating!

READ ALSO: When Can Baby Start Eating Solid Food?


What Causes Picky Eating In Toddlers?

There are many factors that can contribute to making a toddler a picky eater. Naturally, some toddlers are just not into food, and parents and caregivers would have a tough time giving them meals.

However, there are some underlining factors to this troubling habit; one could be if the parents themselves are picky eaters. It would be hard to get your toddler to love eating if you don’t. Or make them eat vegetables that you do not like eating yourself.

Also, your toddler may develop a picky eating habit if the parents or caregiver overly bribes them to eat or punish them when they do not eat. These may end up building negative character in the baby.

Another reason behind a toddler’s picky nature is when parents wean them off breast milk late. When you do not introduce your baby to solids early enough, they will have issues adapting. To remedy the situation, you should try always to eat the same foods as your child and serve fresh, delicious foods at all times.


How to Deal With a Picky Eater Toddler

As a parent or caregiver, you must ensure that you take the right steps when dealing with a picky eater toddler. The behavior can cause malnutrition or lead to poor development of vital organs in the baby’s body.

To prevent this, we have discussed some useful tips on how to deal with a picky eater toddler in order to remedy the situation. Check them out below:

5 Ways to Deal with a Picky Eater Toddler

1. Seek the Help of Your Toddler

In order to deal with a picky eater toddler, you may need to seek the help of the baby. Interesting, right? To do this, take your toddler grocery shopping and ask for their help in selecting fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods.

When you get to the house, also enlist their help in washing and sorting the vegetables and foods. Once they are part of the cooking process, there is a higher tendency that they would joyfully eat the meal ‘they have prepared.’

2. Be a Good Example to Your Toddler

As I mentioned before, many parents and caregivers want their toddlers to eat food and vegetables they do not eat themselves. Forget about the famous phrase ‘it is good for growing children.’ If you want your child to eat something, you have to eat it yourself and prove to them that you enjoy eating them. When your baby sees that you enjoy eating healthy foods and vegetables, they will join you in eating them.

3. Be Creative When Making Meals for Toddlers

I often frown at parents who force their kids to eat broccoli. Why should you give them broccoli when you know they do not like it? Have you considered using broccoli to make spaghetti sauce or other delicious soups? Yes, you can get your toddlers to eat vegetables and healthy foods without them knowing that is what they are eating.

4. Try to Minimize Distractions During Meal Time

Do not allow your baby to watch his or her favourite cartoon during meal time. If the baby is not focused entirely on the meal, then they will have little or no interest in eating.

You should always ensure that mealtime is meal time, and once it is meal time, your child is totally focused on the meal and nothing else whatsoever.

5. Reduce Your Desert Rewards

If you are the type of parent or caregiver who gives your child a dessert as a reward, then your child will prefer it to foods. Although you should have only one or two days of the week when your baby is given desserts, do not make it an occasional habit so that the child does not substitute dessert for food and crave it whenever they experience hunger.


Food for Extremely Picky Eaters Toddler – Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters

If you are dealing with a toddler who is an extremely picky eater, then you may want to try out some food alternatives. In choosing alternatives, you should ensure that you are going for healthy foods that will provide your toddler with the adequate nutrients needed for development.

We have listed some foods for extremely picky eaters and toddlers. However, you should remember that when offering these meals to these toddlers, you should cut them into pieces and spice them up to make them more appealing to the toddler.

Top 15 Favourite Foods for Extremely Picky Eaters Toddlers

  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Bell peppers
  • Blueberries
  • Beans
  • Chicken
  • Cheese
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggs
  • Raspberries
  • Salmon
  • Strawberries
  • Whole grain bread
  • Yogurt


Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: When Does Picky Eating Start?

Answer: You are likely to notice picky eating in your baby when you start introducing them to solid foods. There is a higher tendency for the baby to become a picky eater if you introduce them late to solids.

Question 2: How Do I Stop Picky Eating In My Toddler?

Answer: One of the most tested and trusted ways of stopping picky eating in your toddler is to make the meals more exciting for the toddler. You can achieve this by cutting them into nice shapes. Also, you can use vegetables to make sauce or soups. Most importantly, always show examples by eating with your baby.

Question 3: Is Picky Eating in Toddlers Normal?

Answer: Yes, it is normal for your toddler to be a picky eater. However, there are certain underlining factors that may contribute to this behavior. Some include late weaning and the introduction of solid foods to the baby.