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Feeding a Picky Eater

Child nutrition is a top priority for parents who want healthy kids. Toddlers that are picky eaters make child nutrition a big challenge. Picky eaters generally refuse to eat what everyone else is eating. There are some ways to make food fun, and some fun foods that you can try! Here are some of our ideas.

Making food fun:

  • Act like you enjoy the food you are eating
  • Smile when you feed the food to your toddler
  • Make choo-choo or vroom-vroom noises as you bring the food up to the toddler's mouth
  • Let your child pick out his own utensils for eating- could be a princess or truck theme

Fun foods:

  • Frozen peas and carrots- served frozen!
  • When your child can recognize "balls," let him or her eat different kinds of "balls." (oranges, meatballs, peas, raisins, tomatoes, etc.)
  • Cut different foods into fun shapes- a star, boat, heart, initials, or flowers. Food you can cut into shapes include- toast, sandwich, fish sticks, chicken fingers, and pancakes.
  • Children like to dip their food into things. Try potato wedges and fry sauce, pancake strips and syrup, fish sticks and tartar sauce, chicken fingers and ketchup, graham crackers and milk, and veggies and ranch dressing.


  • Making the child sit at the table for longer than thirty minutes- the toddler will get bored!
  • Food that is not safe for consumption- remember to use safe food handling practices
  • Food that is too hot or too cold- toddlers are sensitive to hot and cold foods
  • Food that is too large- could pose a choking hazard
  • Large snacks, sweet foods, and sweet beverages before meal times
  • Foods that your child is allergic too
  • Using food as a reward or punishment for the child's behavior

Other tips to try:

  • Make meals a daily routine- eat at the same times each day.
  • Let the toddler help you in the kitchen (with your supervision).

When all else fails:

  • Mix healthy food into foods that they already like to eat- meat into macaroni and cheese, sweet potato puree into a casserole, fruit into jell-o, etc.
  • Let the toddler help you cook with your supervision. He or she might enjoy handing you a spoon, bowl, ingredients, and might even be able to stir things that are in a bowl.
  • Take child nutrition classes to help more ideas.

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