Coping with a fussy eater

It’s perfectly normal for toddlers to go through a fussy food stage so here are some tips to help you out.

In Toddler

    2-minutes read

    At a glance

    Almost all toddlers will go through a fussy phase at some point

    As long as your little one is gaining weight and healthy, don’t overly worry about their eating


    Be positive and praise their good eating, rather than focus on the negative

    Set a good example by eating together without rushing mealtimes

    As young children gain independence, they can go through periods of being a fussy eater. Try not to worry too much about what your child eats in a day, or if they don't eat everything at mealtimes. As long as they are gaining weight, and healthy, then they’re getting enough to eat, even if they don’t seem like it.

    Top tips for fussy eaters

    The following ideas may help you encourage your toddler to have better eating habits.

    1. Set regular mealtimes

      Young children like to have a set routine as its reassuring

    2. Serve small portions

      Large portions can be overwhelming for your toddler. You can always offer them more once they’ve finished what’s on their plate

    3. Make the food look attractive

      Cut sandwiches into fun shapes, serve fruit in ready-to-eat bite-sized pieces, or puree fruit and freeze it in ice lolly moulds

    4. Make mealtimes fun

      Let your toddler help you prepare the food, and talk to your toddler about the different colours and textures of the food they’re eating

    5. Be positive

      Offer praise whenever your toddler eats well and don’t criticise or punish when they don’t

    6. Offer new tastes

      Introduce new flavours one at a time, in small amounts

    7. Don’t rush mealtimes

      Some toddlers eat very slowly and rushing them could mean they don’t eat as much as they would like

    8. Eat together

      Try and eat meals as a family so your toddler understands that mealtimes are times you all spend together and learns from your table manners

    Foods for fussy eaters

    Avoid offering snacks or large drinks an hour before mealtimes, as this will reduce your child’s appetite. If you’re worried that your toddler is not getting enough nutrients in their diet, offer healthy snacks between meals:

    • Fruit
    • Carrot sticks (cook until soft for younger toddlers)
    • Cheese
    • Yoghurt

    Toddler meal planner

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