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  5. fussy eating toddlers- any tips to deal with this

fussy eating toddlers- any tips to deal with this Lock Rss

Hi all, I'm sure a lot of us are familiar with toddlers who are fussy/picky eaters so I thought I'd start up a thread on how we all deal with this. I would also like to know how fussy your toddler is.

My 2 year old has been a fussy eater from about 18 months. His diet consists of savoury biscuits, milk, water, nutella sandwiches, pureed fruit, nuggets and hot chips. Ive tried everything from presenting his food differently e.g. smiley faces, Ive used cookie cutters, ive tried shuffling around his meals, ive presented "new" food over 15 times but he still wont touch it even though the food really isnt new to him as he used to eat the foods. I'm told that he will grow out of it but its been 8 months and its gotten worse the food items are slowly dropping off the menu and he is only eating a limited variety of foods. He has had 3 colds this month.
Hi there,
To put this bluntly you need to stop offering him foods such as nuggets, nutella sandwiches and hot chips. If he is constantly offered these "yummy" foods, he will never eat anything you offer him.

You could make healthy chicken and vegetable nuggets to make them healthy, home made healthy beef "sausage" rolls. Does he eat spag bol or anything?? If he does just add HEAPS of vegies. The trick is, keep putting things on his plate. Don't make a fuss. Just put it on his plate and don't give him a choice.

Does he snack much during the day? If he does you need to really monitor that. He should not eat a few hours before that he is hungry when dinner is served.

A good tip that i learnt from super nanny (not that i have yet to use it yet) is to create a snack box. Get him a box and let him paint it, stick things on it, glitter etc. Then at the beginning of eachday get a few snacks down and let him choose 3 things to put in his box. These choices could include a yogurt (obviously keep in the fridge but put in when he is about to pick one) chopped cheese and crackers, a piece of fruit..grapes, strawberries, apple, banana etc, container of his pureed fruit, box of sultanas, muffin etc. He should have 3 snacks in there. When it is snack time get his "special" snack box down and let him pick one out. Make sure breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack times are the same time EVERY day so he has consistency. My son has breaky at 7, snack at 9.30am, lunch at 11.45am and gets a snack after he has finshed lunch, snack at 3.00pm and dinner at 6.15pm. another things is eating as a family is very important. Kids don't want to eat if they are stuck at the table by themselves. Eat the same meals together to encourage healthy eating.

You can buy iceblock moulds and make iceblocks with yoghurt and milk, pureed fruit etc. Make faces with pieces of diced fruit. Homemade vegie muffins. Myabe start a reward sticker chart when he eats the dinner that you serve him. REally praise him when he eats the right type foods.

We all have foods that we dislike, so if he leaves a particular food on his plate, you can let that slide..(but still keep serving it). If he throws a tantrum and won't eat his dinner, don't make a fuss. Try to encourage him to eat it, things like big muscles etc. If he continues to not eat then just calmly take it away. Don't give him anything else. IF he is hungry, give the dinner back to him.

Try family meals like spag bol, other types of pasta, lamb cutlets and vegies, chicken schnitzel and veg. Try a variety of veg, peas, broccoli carrot, corn on the cob etc. It best to get them in a habit of eating what the fanily does from an early age.

If you need any recipes or any more advice feel free to pm me smile

Sorry if i make no sense, i'm just rambling lol lol.
totally agree!!!

In regards to the colds - they could definately be the result of a low immune system. If he is only really eating the foods that you wrote about, then he is getting very little nutrition.

I also find that my dd enjoys foods that I really wouldn't expect her too, like spicy foods especially with natural yogurt.

Another thing to remember is that when you give kids (and adults) foods that are high in salt, fat and sugar then that is what their system wants. It makes other foods taste bland. So when you are trying to change a diet from the bad foods to healthy foods - it may take a while for the palette to change. It will get there though!

All the best with it!
i have the same problem with my 4 yr old. his difficult to get to eat anything and he will starve himself and refuse to try anything new so i do give in a lot and let him have what he wants. his so small and gets sick a lot im just glad to get any food into him. however this has caused some issues at preschool now as he wont east there food either and theyre concerned about him to.

Howver i will try the suggestions made here on my boy see if it helps. i know it wasnt addressed to me but thanks anyway.
can I just ask whether your kids are fussy eaters? I dont enjoy offering him those foods but when you have lived this for 8 months straight day in day out you want to see your child eat so you tend to give in, have you had to do this? He used to eat all the foods you mentioned before 18 months but ive offered the foods we eat upteen times ive lost count with no success. Ive tried tough love by letting him go hungry then offering the meal again, Ive left a few hours between snack time nd dinner/lunch time but no success, as far as snack boxes that you saw on supernanny I'll give it a go but i wont bet on it that it will work. I do offer him meals/snacks at the same time every day but he still refuses. Ive had him around other children maybe he'll copy them but he has his own mind not much of a follower.


I agree with Mum2RyanandCharlee.

They can only eat what you give them and I wouldnt give them nutella, nuggets, savoury biscuits and chips - the more salty and sugary foods you give them the less likely they are to eat healthy foods which sets them up for a lifetime of eating poorly as they develop a taste for salty and sugary foods.

I wouldnt call this fussy eating, he knows there are these foods available so is refusing healthy things in favour of the unhealthy and you are giving in as you are worried he will go hungry - vicious circle.... he knows you will give in.

It may take a while but I'd take those things entirely off the menu and start giving him other things with a set routine of meal and snack times, I think that really helps as well. So breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and if you like milk before bed... but same times each day and maybe another idea is where he's eating, I found at that age (and still alot of the time now) that my girl has to be in her highchair with someone sat with her or she wont eat (especially if the tv is on).

The advice I've read is that toddlers wont starve (despite us thinking they will - what mum doesnt worry when her kid doesnt eat, we all do it). So I'd give him the meal and at this stage dont offer any choices, this is it - he doesnt eat it then encourage him to a bit but then take it away. Then comes next meal/snack, do the same - he'll soon learn that that is all there is.
Thanks all for your input now perhaps give me a sample menu of what you feed your children times etc. I'l try all the stuff you guys have advised even though my health nurse has told me all this stuff and i have tried it with no success except him being miserable with an empty stomach. We will be seeing a child psych this wednesday and if she gives me different advice, I wil definately share it with the mothers whose children are REALLY fussy smile
You seem a little annoyed in your reply post to me? OR is that just me taking it that way? lol.

You asked for ideas so i just thought i would give you some smile

Yes i have dealt with a fussy toddler. I have been through many many attempts at making different foods with no success, but i just persisted.

Now he eats what we eat, all his fruit and veg etc. Sometimes we still have to play little games to encourage his eating but he is doing so well now.

I refuse to buy any fatty foods now, so they aren't there to offer my son. Like i said, if you want recipes to the homemade chicken and vegie nuggets or vegie beef rolls etc pm me.
If you don't think any of my suggestions will work that's fine, you don't have to try them, i was just trying to be helpful smile
Hopefully he starts to eat better soon.
I just thought I would add if you get all stressed out at meal times, then the kids will too. If you give them food and they don't eat it don't get all worked up and cross. This will just stress them out. Don't play games with them either. Just eat a meal together - if they aren't interested - don't make 3 different meals in the hope that they will choose one. Just give a meal that has variety so they can pick at the bits they want. If they refuse to eat and you turn around and give them the crap food - you have just undone all your hard work. It also has a lot to do with the sorts of foods you eat as a family. If you eat a lot of junk - why should your little one be expected to eat healthy food? Best way is to just not have it in the house - even as a treat.

If you are after meal ideas, here are a few ideas that my dd loves.

toast (not white bread) with: baked beans, cheese, butter NOT MARGARINE, sardines, sliced tomato and pepper, avocado with lemon juice, pepper and olive oil, NOT JAM or NUTELLA TYPE SPREADS.

eggs - scrambled, omlette, Add cheese, natural yogurt, tomato, mushroom, chopped spinach etc

Fresh museli - soak some rolled oats in milk for about 20 mins, add natural yogurt, 1/2 grated apple, teaspoon good honey (if desired), then add things like sunflower seeds, crushed nuts etc (depending on age)

Porridge - with natural yogurt on top and cinnamon

Pancakes (1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour) sometimes I add mashed banana to the batter, top with butter, or sauteed tomatos, mushroom, capsicum, garlic and cheese

Homemade pizzas (use pita bread or turkish bread or foccacia as the base) add whatever vegies you have.

Soups - go interesting soups - look at asian type soups, hearty dumpling soups, laksa, pumpkin with cumin, curry powder and sour cream or natural yogurt.

Stir fries


homemade flat breads such as naan, chapatis etc (base is essentially wholemeal flour and water, but then add natural yogurt, coconut or olive oil to bind it and for flavour. Cook on a hot dry frypan or griddle.


homemade nuggets (chicken breast dipped in egg then paprika - then fry)


homemade hamburgers



I usually have a pick platter out in the day with things such as grapes, blackberries, mushrooms, tomatos, carrot sticks, cheese slices, sultanas, turkish bread, mountain bread, healthy dip such as guacamole (mashed avocado - chopped tomato, lemon juice olive oil, chilli)

Zucchini slice (add whatever vegies you like)



Anzac slice (using half polenta half sugar)

peanut biscuits

nut slice (savoury vegetarian meatloaf)

Yogurt cake every now and then

scones (can make pumpkin cheese zucchini etc)

cheese on toast

quark or natural yogurt with fruit, barley or on its own.

dried mushrooms (eats them like chips!)

Obviously all meals, snacks are interchangeable!!

[Edited on 16/03/2009]
[Edited on 16/03/2009]
No not annoyed at you annoyed at this situation sorry if i offended you lol. How long did it take you to get through this phase? Ive just had no help from health nurses or any other services so its been hard. Ive popped him in his highchair as we speak with the meal we are having tonight (he's eating earlier) as he had an early nap today so is getting tired. He hasnt touched a thing I havent made a fuss over it nor have i asked him to eat. All I have said is here's your dinner and that's it. He is asking for bikkies (arrh!)right now but I keep telling him he cant have them. I cant believe that he used to eat everything now the foods i offer him are "new" and refuses to eat them.
No you didn't offend me smile

I understand how frustrating it must be for you. It took a while. Even now he is a bit funny about trying new things. In our family we find playing games really helps when trying new foods. Once he discovers he likes it he eats it no worries. Keep trying hun. Being a parent can be so testing and hard sometimes. I am sure you are doing your best.
Here is the recipe for chicken and vegie nuggets. This way even if its all he eats, at least he's getting some veg smile

1 zucchini, finely grated (squeeze moisture out)
500g chicken breast mince
1 carrot, peeled, finely grated
270g can corn kernels, drained, rinsed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Using your hands, squeeze grated zucchini to remove excess liquid. Place zucchini in a large bowl. Add mince, carrot, corn and egg. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until well combined.
Place breadcrumbs on a large plate. Shape tablespoons of mixture into nuggets. Coat nuggets in breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. Place on prepared tray.
Spray nuggets lightly with oil. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning nuggets halfway during cooking, or until golden and cooked through.
Notes & tips
Tip: You can freeze the uncooked nuggets at the end of step 2. Divide nuggets between 2 large snap-lock bags. Label, date and freeze for up to 3 months.
Note: To raise the vegetable quota, try serving the nuggets with kid-friendly coleslaw, or potato or pumpkin mash.

hi this is exactly what we are going through at the moment and i have been strict with his meals and snacks for over a week now and ds is still refusing to eat. he really isnt eating much during the day and i find before he goes to bed, cause he hasnt eaten his dinner, he is hungry...
its so frustrating and starting to really get to me.
there were some great suggestions made in this thread so am going to try them and the chicken veg nugget recipe today!
has anyone else got some good recipes?
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