Top tips for feeding toddlers

How to cope with fussy eaters.
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  • Updated:4 Jun 2013

01.Top 10 tips for feeding toddlers


While it can be difficult to coax a toddler into eating something they don’t want to, there are some strategies you can attempt to encourage them to try to enjoy a wider range of foods.


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1. Introduce textured foods. If you only give your child smooth and puréed foods, they may automatically resist trying anything with a lumpier texture. Once they’re eating confidently, try forking and mashing - rather than puréeing – cooked vegetables and fruits.

2. Try, try, try again. Food rejection is normal. Children are basically creatures of habit and will usually prefer to stick with the familiar. So it’s totally normal to have to offer a new individual food many times before your child will happily eat it. However, most parents only persist two or three times before giving up on that particular food altogether.

3. Practise what you preach. Research has found most toddlers who are fussy eaters have parents who admit to being fussy eaters too. To encourage your toddler to happily try a wide range of foods, you need to widen your own eating habits. Don’t only offer them foods you like.

4. Don’t make the dinner table a battleground. Try not to pass on your anxiety about your child’s eating habits to them, or force or bribe them into eating. Mealtimes shouldn’t be a power struggle.

5. Keep your kitchen full. A healthy child will never willingly starve themselves if they have access to a variety of wholesome food.

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6. Write it down. If you’re really worried about what your toddler eats, keep a chart for a week and write down everything they eat. You’ll probably be surprised by how much they manage to get through even though they never seem to eat anything at all.

7. Keep an eye on their height and weight gains. If they’re consistently growing despite their small appetite, you have nothing to worry about. If they’re not growing or behaving as you’d expect, seek medical advice.

8. Don’t cater to their every whim. You’ll promote fussy eating if you keep offering different food choices until they accept one. If you want to give them a choice of food, limit the choice to two.

9. If your child is a fussy eater, keep snacking to a minimum so they’re hungry at mealtimes and more willing to eat.

10. Eat with your toddler. They’ll be more willing to sit down and eat if they have company and come to understand that eating can be a social activity.

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