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Help with my picky eater, I don't think he's getting enough to eat!

My son is about to turn 2yrs old and ever since he started eating solid foods has been the pickiest of eaters. There's no one food that he likes, he'll eat something one day then refuse to eat it the next. So much food gets wasted in our house because I make him something I think he'll eat but he won't. It really drives me nuts because he'll even ask for something specifically, he'll drag me to the kitchen saying "hot dog" so I'll make him a hot dog then he won't eat it. Some days he barely eats anything at all and I'm really worried that he's not getting enough nutrition. I try to compromise with him too "take a few bites of your hot dog and you can have a bite of cookie" but this doesn't work either. He's only 2 and doesn't seem to understand that yet, all he knows is he wants the cookie. Please, any sort of advice on this would be appreciated, thanks.

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Asked by LoriAnn5674 at 10:14 AM on Nov. 16, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (11)
  • Quit makeing 2 meals. He eats what you eat. If he doesn't eat, then he doesn't eat. Eventually he will realize that he needs to eat what you fix or he will go hungry until the next meal.

    He is controlling you and you are letting him. Picky eaters start like this but can be changed as long as you stay in charge. He will not starve.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 10:19 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • I agree with Jademom07. I didn't have that problem. Because my girls either eat or went hungry tell the next meal. It will not hurt him to miss one meal. And do not bribe him with sweets.


    Answer by louise2 at 10:24 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • What you're experiencing is very typical toddler behavior. He won't starve. When he gets hungry, he'll eat. Focus on only giving him healthy choices and limiting treats/junk food. That way, whatever he does it will give him the maximum benefit. Try to avoid the "short order" cook approach or you'll spend your life making him something different. I usually decide what my 2 yr old will have for his meal, serve it, and we're done. If we're trying something new, I'll probably have a fall back plan like cheese or pasta if he absolutely won't eat it. I also have the problem of what he'll eat one day he won't eat the next. I give him very small amounts at a time and save the leftovers for the next meal. Just remember, no otherwise healthy toddler will actually allow himself to starve!

    Answer by momofryan07 at 10:24 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • I also make one meal and thats what my kids eat, or dont. I have never made it an issue. If they dont eat oh well, I just save it for later.
    Two year olds are starting to show independence also. Give him a grocery flyer, let him (or you) cut out the picture of 1 new food he wants to try, have him glue with glue stick onto paper and take him shopping.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 10:28 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • I tried this approach before. For two days I gave him his choice of breakfast and lunch and served him what the rest of the family ate for dinner. I also wouldn't let him have his in between snacks until he ate a good amount of his real food. In those two days he maybe ate 3 or 4 bites of food.

    Answer by LoriAnn5674 at 10:31 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • My DD Dixie is 22months old and she is the same way. Last time we went to the doctor though I told her I was concerned, and she suggested I make 2 things for each meal and let Dixie choose which one she wants. Sometimes its a control thing, and by letting them choose you are giving them some control while still not giving into their demands. It works great for lunch and dinner, but Dixie still wont ever really eat anything for breakfast

    Answer by soccerchik8287 at 10:35 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • With my girls 2 and 4 if they don't eat the food I prepare then they don't eat. They of course at the next meal eat a lot. I leave it at that. I am not going to argue over food, and my kids will not starve themselves. soccerchick has a great idea, it might work really well.


    Answer by DevilInPigtails at 11:02 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • I think its good to have on hand nutritious food to feed toddlers often. Not hot dogs and cookies.

    I take care of my toddler grandson a few days a week. He had a disease that makes him gain slow even if he eats plenty of calories. We need to feed him pretty much all the time it seems. I save bits of our meals in the fridge or freezer.

    I don't have to gripe about all the time (10 min) I might have had to take to fix him something or all the waste because it's no big deal if he ends up not wanting something. I take meat and cut it very thin and let him feed it to himself. Iron is important for toddlers. We live in Tucson and its still hot and he likes a lot of things frozen like canned pineapple.

    My grandson only has a 64% chance of surviving with the rare disease he has. I think when you are caring for a child that may not grow up you think about things differently.

    Answer by Gailll at 11:50 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • It's normal and he will outgrow it. He won't starve. A trick I learned for my kids is, the first thing, when they come downstairs. When I know they are hungry. I'll give them a banana then. Usually they will eat it because they are hungry. After that, they are picky and who knows what they'll eat. But at least I got something good down them!!

    Answer by mompam at 12:19 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • You gave in too early. Two days isn't long enough, it has to be that way all the time.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:38 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

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