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How to handle the world's pickiest eater...

My 19 month old pretty much puts up a fight during meals that I dread getting him in his high chair for meal time. He refuses everything but asks for milk, apple, or orange...that's it.

Tonight, he refused dinner and asked for an apple, and after almost refusing it, I realized he's probably teething again (felt a bit warm), so I gave in and gave him the apple along with a couple of peas, a pinch of cheese, and a small rice cake.

I want meal time to be enjoyable for DH, LO, and me, but it's nothing but frustration. I've tried to switch up meals, but one day he'll love pasta (for example) and the next day he hates it and wants nothing to do with it.


Answer Question

Asked by mypreciousbabe at 9:47 PM on Mar. 9, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 7 (206 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • Just give him very small "no thank you" portions. They don't have to be eaten, but they must be on his plate. He'll get used to them. Maybe even eat them.

    My older kids weren't hugely fussy, but never liked the ethnic foods DH and I sometimes craved. We would intentionally bring the kids (with some extra food they would eat) and exposed them to the foods. Now they beg for things like Ethiopian or Indian food. My little one is still picky, but like your son will eat fruit, and loves his veggies as well.

    The less of a battle you make it -"OK, you don't have to eat it but it has to sit there." The easier it will get.

    Answer by balagan_imma at 10:55 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • I've found that a lot of eating frustration for parents comes from expecting a child to eat more than he needs. I've also decided, over the years, that kids are pretty good judges of what they need and when so as long as it's not junk food, just relax and go with it.

    Answer by judimary at 12:16 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • Stop giving in to what he asks. Provide a single meal and that's it.... he can choose to eat it or not... nothing to stress about. And don't pester him to eat... we found that if we paid little attention to my son during meal time, at least in the way of "take a bite" or "try this" then he did much better all on his own. If he doesn't eat don't offer a snack later either or he'll learn that if he holds out long enough he can have something else. You can put his plate in the fridge and if he's hungry later you can re-heat it.
    Also provide small portions with lots of options... his plate might have... a little corn, mashed potatoes, bread, chicken and maybe some fruit. Let him pick what he wants... maybe only the fruit and bread... it's FINE.
    He'll learn to eat more and try new foods if you don't give in to his favorites...

    Answer by AmiJanell at 5:50 PM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • Thanks all!

    Comment by mypreciousbabe (original poster) at 11:11 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

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