How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat

My daughter has finally come of age, it’s time for the picky toddler chat. I wouldn’t have previously described my daughter as picky, but lately she’s been flexing her NO muscles a bit more at mealtime. As I’ve been navigating my way through toddlerhood, I picked up a few useful tips on how to get a picky toddler to eat, all the gory details are below.

How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat

How to Get a Picky Toddler to Eat 
First and foremost, a toddler’s desires, emotions, interests, and food choices change on the drop of a dime. Save yourself the headache and do not act surprised if your pea-loving baby refuses to even allow the tiny green vegetable on her plate on any given day; it’s so normal, but exhausting. What are you supposed to do in this situation?

  • Don’t force a child to eat, even a well-intentioned one-more-bite should be avoided
  • Remove the undesired item while pointing out the other delicious options on the plate
  • Avoid turning into a short order cook by keeping several ready-made foods available
  • If your child hasn’t eaten much of anything, replace the “peas” with 1 additional food choice {a healthy smoothie is a great option}

General Tips on How to Handle a Picky Eater

  • Allow your child to “win” a few battles, i.e.: Jonny wants to eat on his blue plate, with the green fork and orange cup, don’t fight this unless you absolutely have to
  • Give your child some space during mealtime, i.e.: don’t hover, clean their face midway, or point out what’s left on the plate – teach him the art of mealtime by engaging in a conversation {it might be one-sided for a bit} that doesn’t involve the mention of food
  • Keep trying to offer new foods – today could be the day! 
  • Give your toddler some control by allowing her to choose between two dinner plates, the mozzarella cheese or the provolone cheese in the refrigerator, etc.
  • Prepare the same food different ways, i.e.: chicken nuggets, grilled chicken, pulled chicken, baked chicken, chicken meatballs, etc.
  • Partitioned plates don’t work for all children, i.e.: blueberries, cheese, and chicken on one plate – try offering each food one by one, especially if they have a strong preference towards one item {once my daughter saw the strawberries she wouldn’t eat anything else}
  • Fuel your toddler with healthy foods, a lot of changes occur during the toddler years, fill your little one up with nutritious, protein-packed meals and lead by example
  • Kids eat when they are hungry, don’t stress over any individual meal {consult a pediatrician with any concerns}
  • New {social} environments may hinder mealtime, don’t be surprised if your child is to distracted to eat, it’s completely normal
  • Set rules and be firm, i.e.: no walking while eating, no throwing food from the high chair– whatever the rule, first teach it and then enforce it, toddlers need limits 

What are your go-to tactics on how to get a picky toddler to eat? Let me know in the comments! 





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