How to Deal with Picky Eating in Toddlers

How to Deal with Picky Eating in Toddlers

Discover practical strategies for handling toddler picky eating. Stay patient, offer variety, and turn mealtimes into an adventure. Help for parents with fussy eaters!

Dealing with Picky Eating in Toddlers: Practical Strategies for Parents

What is Fussy/Picky Eating in Toddlers?

How to Deal with Picky Eating in Toddlers

You’ve lovingly prepared a nutritious meal for your little one, and with an adorable squint of their eyes, they give it a skeptical look, push the plate away, and exclaim, “I don’t like it!” Can you relate to that? Well, you’re not alone! Fussy or picky eating in toddlers is like an adventure in their food journey, where they become pretty selective about what they eat. It’s a phase that many parents and toddlers experience.
So, let’s take a closer look:

Why Toddlers Become Picky Eaters:

  1. Taste Explorers: 
    Toddlers are like tiny food explorers navigating through a world of flavors. Their taste buds might be extra sensitive to new or unfamiliar tastes, making them cautious about trying certain foods.
  2. Texture Matters: 
    Textures can be a big deal for toddlers. They may refuse foods that feel strange or squishy in their mouths. It’s all part of their sensory adventure.
  3. Independence Emerges: 
    Toddlers are in the process of discovering their independence. One way they assert it is by maintaining their food preferences. Mealtime can sometimes turn into a friendly negotiation.
  4. Appetite’s Ups and Downs: 
    Toddler appetites can be as unpredictable as the weather. Some days, they’ll eat like they haven’t seen food in years; others, they nibble like birds. It’s all part of their growth patterns.

How to Handle Picky Eating in a Friendly Way:

  1. Stay Cool and Patient: 
    First and foremost, keep your cool. Picky eating is often a phase that will eventually pass. Don’t let mealtimes turn into a friendly showdown.
  2. Offer a Food Fiesta: 
    Keep offering a variety of foods. Toddlers may need to see a new food several times before mustering the courage to try it.
  3. Lead by Example: 
    Be a food role model. When they see you relishing a diverse range of foods, they’re more likely to want to join in the tasty fun.
  4. Spice Up Mealtime: 
    Get creative with food presentation. Fun shapes, colorful plates, and even a bit of storytelling about the food can make mealtimes feel like a delightful adventure.
  5. Let Them Be the Chef’s Helper: 
    Involve your little one in meal preparation. Even if it’s just a bit of stirring or arranging things on the table, including them in the process can make them more interested in the food.
  6. Respect Their Appetite: 
    Trust your toddler’s cues for hunger and fullness. Don’t pressure them to finish everything on their plate. They have a good sense of when they’re full.
  7. Snack Smart: 
    If your toddler snacks throughout the day, they might not feel particularly hungry during mealtime. Try sticking to a regular meal and snack schedule.
  8. Stay Positive: 
    Encourage rather than criticize. Praise your kid for taking a bite or trying something new. Positive vibes make a big difference.
  9. Consult the Experts: 
    If you’re concerned about your toddler’s growth or health due to fussiness, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a pediatrician or a registered dietitian.


Dealing with picky eating in toddlers can be challenging, but it’s a regular part of their food journey. Understanding why they become selective and how to handle it with patience and creativity is vital. Remember, it’s a phase that usually passes, and stressing won’t help. Keep mealtimes positive, offer a variety of foods, and involve them in the process. As long as your toddler is growing and healthy, there’s no need to worry. Embrace the delightful food world with your little one and enjoy this exploration together.

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