Fussy Eaters – Toddlers

Toddlers are notorious for being fussy eaters and it makes any caring parent worry when their child refuses to eat. Although it can be upsetting that your child is not eating do not make mealtime into a war of will power.

  • Children’s nutritional needs vary from child to child and if you are concerned that your child is not eating enough it is a good idea to keep a record of daily intake and review it with your pediatrician.
  • Try to remember that mealtime is not solely about eating but there is also a social aspect to it that makes it more enjoyable. Sitting around a table as a group or even just with you and your child where multiple people are eating encourages picky eaters to eat also. A change of mealtime location is also helpful – maybe try having a picnic in the back garden in order to make it fun.
  • Try to build up your child’s appetite by making sure that the child gets enough exercise and fresh air.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time and in small amounts. Instead of an entire meal of unfamiliar foods, for example, offer standard fare or favorites along with something new. Always include at least one thing you know your toddler likes at each meal.
  • Be aware of your child’s milk intake – when a toddler is drinking too much milk he/she is not hungry for food and it becomes a vicious cycle when parents give their picky eater more milk as a substitute for food that they believe he/she doesn’t want to eat.
  • Use toddler-size portions. A serving size for a toddler is about 1/4 of a single portion for an adult. A serving of meat for a 1-year-old is about the size of the palm of her hand, and a serving of vegetables is only about 1 or 2 tablespoons.
  • Try to give your picky eater fruit and vegetables in fresh juices or smoothies. Although this lacks the fiber of eating the actual fruit or vegetable its better than not eating it at all.
  • Look for ways to boost the nutritional value of the dishes your toddler enjoys. Add some wheat germ or diced chicken to her macaroni casserole, pureed vegetables like carrots or spinach to pasta sauce, and little chunks of fruit to her favorite cereal, for example.