Getting toddlers to eat

So today we’re looking for tips on finding toddlers to eat. Delicious.

No, wait. Getting toddlers to eat . . . their food. Riiight. (Note: cannibalism is frowned upon in most societies.)

We’ve talked about getting children to eat their vegetables before, but sometimes it’s tough to get my 2-year-old to eat . . . anything.

What’s your best advice?


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12 thoughts on “Getting toddlers to eat

  1. I wish I had some for you, but I just don’t. We just try to sneakily healthify everything they eat until they’re around 3 1/2 or 4. Then they eat what they’re served or they sit at the table until they do or they go to bed hungry.

    Right now Angel Girl is a VERY picky eater. But she loves quesadillas. So I grate carrot and cooked broccoli into them every time and she never knows. MUHAHAHAHA!

  2. I know each family has their own way of doing things, but here is what we have done (successfully)

    Everyone offered same food at mealtimes, but quantities will vary. If is unliked or unknown, then only a small amount will be on a child’s plate.

    If all eaten, then usual yoghurt, fruit or biscuit given after.

    If not all eaten, then no alternatives offered. No bribery with sweets. No other snacks offered before the next meal.

    It works for us, but I know not everyone will use this approach.

  3. Hey Jordee,

    So…tough question indeed. I do love what Summer does with the quesadilla bit. I might try that next time.

    I think though, that because I was like (am like) the world’s pickiest eater that I really really really get what the kids are saying. Not only did I just sometimes not like the way a food smelled or tasted, but oh dear…texture is just as important.

    To this day, I cannot eat mashed potatoes. Or any mushy foods. (Not that I remember this period at all, but my mother says I absolutely refused jars of baby food as well. So maybe there’s a bit of transference going on?)

    It’s definitely contradictory to the previous two points, but I give the kids option when I know they’re being faced with something that will end up in the trash can. Water, juice and milk are always a must (and only) but as a kid who hates bananas (and who hates bananas) it means that literally every mealtime ended up being a struggle in our house.

    So for Jay’s snack it’s banana or apple. And he eats EVERYTHING. There’s never any coaxing. He went months without every trying certain things and then one day he just tried it and either loved it or wasn’t thrilled by it. But I know for a fact he appreciates being given some options.

  4. I SO wish I had the answer to this. At least my baby girl isn’t skinny or anything, but you would think she should be by the way she eats.

    I do try not to pressure her, but I get frustrated after trying 15 different things with no success on any of them, especially when she just ate some of them no problem the meal before.

  5. we told my son that each vegetable did different things and then we’d make a big deal about what they did.
    ex: carrots make his eyes sparkle
    (then we’d laugh and pretend that we couldn’t look at him b/c his eyes were sparkling so much)

    and we let him put “dip” aka salad dressing on them and slowly decreased the amount of dip he put on his veggies.

  6. One of the most important ways I get my son (3) to eat veggies is to eat and enjoy them myself in his presence. But he’s also a big fan of fun presentation. I arrange breaded soy nuggets like flower petals with ketchup in the center, make broccoli seem like a tree on a plate. I’m sometimes surprised how effective imagining the food as something else is in getting him to eat.

  7. I need help on this too! My 18 month old refuses everything!
    Except liquids. And ice. And cookies and candy (offered by my mom).

    Sometimes I can get her to eat peanut butter. That’s got protein, doesn’t it?

  8. Hmm, My son is 2 and he has always eaten everything placed in front of him-we nicknamed him the human garbage disposal:)
    But now he’s goin thu this stage of not being interested in ANYTHING he used to love!
    The only advice I have is I always give him at least 5 diff. small portions at each meal that way he has alot to choose from but the portions are so small it’s not wasteful- you know you could even try putting the servings in a fun ice-cube tray?
    Just mix it up and remember they WILL eat when they are hungry, they just go thru stages ya know??
    Good luck!

  9. I started out by self-feeding. They learned early on that if they wanted food, they’d have to put it in their mouth. I also never gave them plain old baby food. The closes would be our veggies (spices and all) mashed up.

    I also offer choices and let them “help” make meals. (ie cheese sandwich or peanut butter? Cut the apple or leave it whole? Strawberries or blueberries? Slices or sticks of cucumber?)

    I also let them have food pretty much all day. I’m a grazer and that is what they see so that is what they do.

    I read somewhere (Dr. Sears?) that you should consider the food they eat over the course of a week to see if they have a balanced diet. So, one doesn’t eat much at dinner but the next day she packs lunch and dinner away and has a few snacks. It all evens out in the end.

    Also, there is a meme called “Muffin Tin Mondays” where you feed them in muffin tins. (Sycamore Stirrings hosts it, I think…)My girls love their muffin tins and eat from them a couple times a week.

  10. With Princess Belle, my best bet was to let her eat at her own pace. If I let the food sit on the table, she would come back to it and eat it. She ended up getting a lot more eaten in the run of a day than she did at set meal times.

  11. my son KaidanRogue is 18 mo and a very picky eater…he ate good as a baby but once we started introducing adult food he doesn’t want to try anything. he ate broccoli and carrots once..I thought great..but now he won’t. on occasion he will eat some chicken nuggets or fish sticks…but most of the time if I just let him sit there and eat at his own pace it all ends up on the floor. He has a big flip out about trying anything new…he waves his hands infront of his face saying no…funny he puts his hand over his eyes so he can’t see us like we can’t see him…its a struggle. Fruit he likes most of the time and cheese but there has to be more to his diet…I just don’t know what to do…everything I try crackers, sandwiches, eggs, ect is a fight or on the floor ..what to do???

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