Our Top Ten Tips for Parents of Picky Eating Toddlers


August 15, 2016 · Todays Family ·

Our Top Ten Tips for Parents of Picky Eating Toddlers

We’ve all been there; it’s dinner time and you hear a deafening cacophony of, “This is yucky!” “What’s this green stuff?” “Why can’t I have cookies for dinner?” But how do you go about inspiring your picky toddler to be a food connoisseur? Here are our top 10 tips.

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#1. Make sure your toddler sees you eating a wide range of healthy foods and that these foods always include items that you want your toddler to try and, eventually, enjoy.

#2. Make dinner together! If your child hates brussel sprouts, have them help to make them. Of course, use your discretion when it comes to what tasks they do – maybe have them wash the brussel sprouts and pull the outside leaves off. Your child will be proud of themselves for helping and is more likely to try the food they helped to prepare.

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#3. Combine foods your toddler doesn’t like, or perhaps hasn’t tried, with foods you know they love. That way, they aren’t overwhelmed.

#4. Don’t be a short order cook! If your child knows that they can have whatever they want for dinner – as long as they make a fuss – then they will continue to do so.

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#5. Avoid making faces or expressing disgust when trying new foods. This is a monkey see, monkey do scenario. You are your child’s example of what behavior is appropriate.

#6. Take note of your child’s picky points – or things that they tend to not like about food. This could be a colour, a texture or a taste, like bitterness. If they don’t like mushy food, offer them boiled potatoes instead of mashed or give them crunchy food to have with their mushy food – like dipping animal crackers in applesauce.

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#7. Don’t put too much pressure on your child. The, “you have to try it, but you don’t have to like it” rule is a good one. As long as your child tries one bite of a new food, you’re making progress.

#8. Some children appear to be picky eaters when, in fact, they are just active and don’t want to sit down long enough to have a proper meal. In this case, keep mealtimes short – 10-15 minutes or so. That way, your child doesn’t get ants in their pants.

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#9. Some children rush through dinner because they’re excited for a sweet treat after their meal. Nutritionists have found that it’s effective to serve a small dessert with the main meal, instead of after. On average, children tend to eat more vegetables this way. There’s a great article from Today’s Parent about this idea! http://www.todaysparent.com/kids/why-this-dietitian-says-you-should-serve-dessert-with-dinner/

#10. Be patient. Some toddlers need to try a new food 10-15 times before they decide that they like it, or are at least used to it.


Do you have tips on how you handled your picky eater? We want to hear from you! Share your experiences with us on Twitter, @TodaysFamilyOnt, or on Facebook at Today’s Family Early Learning and Child Care.

See you on Wednesday!

Until then,

– Today’s Family



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