toddler holding toddler book

Help! My Toddler Is A Picky Eater

Tackling mealtime with a picky eater can be a struggle, even more so with toddlers. And the last thing we need is a battle at the dinner table. So, instead of surrendering at mealtime, Moms on Call has the tips you need to get mealtime back on track and the battle on the back burner.

The Basics

  • This is a normal daily activity.
    • Try to keep the focus off of them while eating.
    • No need to over celebrate every bite
  • Give your toddler 10-15-minute mealtime opportunities
  • Stay Flexible!
    • This will get messy and that is OKAY!
  • Sit and eat with them as you both face the table
  • Give 2-3 pea sized bites of food at a time
  • Continue to place additional bites on their plate as needed.

Week-by-Week Guide

Week 1:

Take the chore out of mealtime and spend a week having fun by offering a small variety of nutrient dense foods cut into small pea-sized bites such as beans, fruits and cheese.

  • Be OKAY with whatever they eat.
  • Give them ten minutes to eat.

This week is all about low stress and using a solid schedule that helps them know what to expect and helps them be hungry at each meal!

Week 2:

The introduction and discovery of “the magic sauce”. At a few feedings this week, fill a small muffin tray with 6 food items, then fill the remaining 6 areas with sauces.

  • Bite-sized food examples: blueberries, mashed garbanzo beans, soft cheese bites, cereal, soft rice and peas.
  • Sauces: honey mustard, ketchup, mayo, ranch dressing, yogurt and whipped cream! YUM!
  • Have FUN! Stay away from making Stress Face, and try not to face them.

Now it’s time to let them make a great mess and find the special sauce that makes eating fun!

Week 3:

Low stress mealtime continues through Week 3, while incorporating nutrient dense foods into the regular menu.

  • Use the secret sauce discovered in Week 2 to make some healthy options more palatable.
  • We do not ask them if they want the food we are offering.
  • Try this instead: “This is what we are having for lunch. You are going to love trying new things!”

Remember, it is your job to provide the food, and it is their job to eat it!

When getting our picky eaters to try new things, patience is key. Stay consistent in offering new foods in pea sized bites and keep that “special sauce” handy! Follow along in the Moms on Call's Toddler Book and Toddler Online Course for all of our expert advice on feeding your toddler and so much more.

Return to Knowledge Center