Toddler Food and Picky Eaters

Whew!! This post has been a long time coming due to all the info I want to share! I was this close to posting this post as a Christmas special… ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been working hard these past few weeks documenting the things my daughter eats, tracker her eating habits, and really focusing on dealing with her picky-ness.

First things first…I am a new mama, and I’m pretty sure things will change with the next baby. Of coarse, I also believe some things will stay the same, but every child is different. So what works for one child, may not work for another. Also, the more kids you have, the less time available. Things will need to be quicker, faster, and easier than they are now…

I don’t really know how that’s going to happen, but let’s pretend for a second I’ve got this all under control.

Ok, so if you have missed the previous entries of Kid’s Food Week/Month/Decade then here are the posts so you can catch up:

Why and Where To Begin With Kids Eating Healthy

Stocking a Healthy Pantry for your Kids

Baby Food 101: 6-12 Months

And today we will be talking about Toddler Food and Picky Eaters!ย 

So, I obviously can’t discuss Every.Single.Type of food that your toddler/child can eat because there are truly so many options and creative ways. But I am excited to share with you a handful of recipes and tips that I have gathered over the past few weeks, along with the trial and errors of those foods!

I’m not going to get into statistics because I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to lead you astray, but I will touch base on a few things.

This is a crucial time in your child’s life, in where they are needing the right components to grow strong and healthy bodies, and they are able and willing to learn and soak up healthy eating habits. If there is one thing that I have noticed, it’s that my daughter notices and copies a lot of what I do. Now is the time to truly be an example and teach your children how to treat and respect their bodies, and help them love and understand healthy eating habits.

In general you want to make sure your kids are getting enough:

-Fruits and veggies



-Healthy Fats

You want them to also eat a variety of foods so they can get a variety of nutrition from different sources.

(Want to know what NOT to do….Keep reading).

ย A few months back Baby Boo would barely eat anything…I’m talking maybe a handful of foods and that was it! I tried every type of food, dance, distraction, and creative measure I could to make food seem appealing to her…But no way, she just wasn’t interested.

It wasn’t till a visit with Baby Boo’s NEW doctor that everything changed.

When Baby Boo went in for her 12 month checkup, her old doctor told me she needed to drink more sippy’s (or bottles) of milk. He told me I needed to give her lots of glasses through out the day because she wasn’t eating a lot. So I did just that, even though I wasn’t sure. (If you read THIS post, I want you to know that by NOW I have learned to really listen to my motherly intuition…) But, being a new mom and trying to do what the doctor said, I started increasing her liquids. She drank soy milk, and sometimes whole milk. Pretty soon, if she didn’t eat a big breakfast, I would give her a bottle with milk so she would have something in her stomach. Then following lunch and dinner, I would give her a bottle again…Mainly because I was worried she didn’t have any thing in her stomach.

At this point I was a wreck. Foods to Baby Boo were on the back burner, besides a few unhealthy snacks that outside family members had introduced to her, and she loved her Ba-Ba’s…I knew I was doing things wrong, and I didn’t know how to break the habit. I was supposed to be someone who enforced healthy eating, yet I resorting to giving Baby Boo the foods she would eat JUST so she would have food in her belly.

But I was soo soo wrong.

Finally after switching doctors, we went to Baby Boo’s 18 month checkup. The doctor kindly shared with me a lot of information, and let me know that I am like a lot of mom’s out there. That was really nice to hear, especially since I felt like the worst mom in the world.

First she told me to take away the bottles…So I did.

Then she told me to stop placing so many foods on Baby Boo’s plate…So I stopped.

Next she told me to introduce foods slowly, and put 1-2 foods on her plate she likes, and one new food. If she doesn’t touch the new food, keep introducing it often, and eventually she will try it…So we did just that.

What happened next?

Things changed dramatically.

Within days Baby Boo started eating all the food off her plate and asking for more. ย And Iย felt a lot better that I wasn’t pumping her stomach full of ‘dairy’ and that she was getting SO much more essential nutrients.

-That being a first time mom isn’t easy, but it’s normal to make mistakes.

-I should always trust my motherly intuition.

– Not everybody is perfect, even for people who profess a healthy lifestyle..aka me! ๐Ÿ™‚

-Don’t introduce unhealthy foods to your kids, because in the end, it’s all they are going to want.

– Put your foot down when it comes to your children. I know how much grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren, and that’s fine…But limit the spoilage. Make sure they get a variety of foods, not just the junky ones.

First thing I did was make a list of all the foods Baby Boo liked to eat, and then incorporated those into her meals on a daily basis.

Here are the things Baby Boo didn’t have a problem eating: (P.S. I am slightly embarrassed)


-Berries/fruit in general







-Macaroni and Cheese




-Muffins/Baked goods

As you can see maybe a few items are healthy, and the rest are quick snack foods that she was introduced to and fell in love with. Next, I took the foods she loved, and incorporated them with new foods too. (I also said goodbye to those bad snacks, because to me there was no need for them.)

Baby Boo LOVES avocado! I truly believe that she fell in love because my husband and I eat avocados with practically every dinner during the week. She saw that we loved it, and wanted to try it too and fell in love!

Veggie Guacamole

1-2 small avocado mashed with shredded cucumber, zucchini puree, or pea puree. Dash of cumin and tad or salt (optional).

I love mixing greens into her guacamole. Obviously I don’t want to get in the habit of hiding everything, but adding veggies or other wholesome goodies to foods that children already love is a great way to give them extra nutrition that they need.

I paired this with barley (which is similar to rice, just a little fatter and chewier) that had cut of chickpeas mixed in.

Veggie Avocado served with Barley mixed w/ Chickpeas

With this plate, I knew I had given her two options which she was familiar with and liked. Then I threw in some diced chickpeas just to get her familiar with them.

After I introduced chickpeas, I would roast them with a little seasoning and we would snack on them during the day and she loved this!

As the weeks went on I started to slowly introduce more beans and legumes to Baby Boo.

Her favorites so far are chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, and lentils.

Another favorite food of Baby Boo’s was yogurt. Depending on what I had on hand, which was either an organic milk yogurt that was flavored or a non dairy soy yogurt, she wouldn’t have a problem eating either. I decided that I wanted to stop buying the flavored yogurt because I knew it only came with extra additives and sugars, so I stuck with simple and plain, and our favorite happens to be greek yogurt.

Yogurt Parfait

Bottom Layer: Plain greek yogurt, non dairy yogurt, or plain yogurt

Blueberry Fruit Sauce: 2 TB. blueberries pureed with 1 TB. Maple Syrup

Next top with banana chunks and chia seeds,wheat germ, or ground flax seeds

I quickly learned that Baby Boo loved cold and easy to eat foods on weeks when she was teething, because her mouth was in so much pain that it often took away her appetite. (We will talk more about this latter.)

Another thing I tried was incorporating flavors she loved into certain foods.

I knew she loved spaghetti and avocado, so I tried combining the two.

Creamy Avocado Spaghetti Squash

For the sauce recipe, I used THIS amazing one from Ohsheglows and added 1/3 c. of Northern Beans to it and a little more olive oil. To bake the spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wipe down outside of spaghetti squash and place the whole squash on a covered cookie sheet. Place in oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until outside of squash has browned and become soft and squishy. This is a great meal the WHOLE family can enjoy!

Obviously this was completely new to Baby Boo, so I was expecting a little bit of hesitation, but once she took her first bite she was sold.

Whether she wanted to eat with her hands or a straw I didn’t care…Just as long as she was happy and eating!

A lot of times I became so frustrated that it would completely ruin my mood, and I know that Baby Boo could tell. Eating time had become a stressful event and a lot of times it turned Baby Boo off from eating to the point where she would cry the second I placed her in her high chair.

Since then I have learned to not worry, and that if Baby Boo doesn’t eat something, then I should’t freak out. Simply move on and try again the next time.

I’ve also really focused on talking with Baby Boo about the foods she eats on a regular basis, asking her questions about what eat one is and their color. Taking interest in the food has in turn made her interested in it as well.

When I first introduced broccoli to Baby Boo, she was not interested in it at all. After a few minutes of talking about it ‘s name and color (all the while remaining happy), she tried it. After her first few bites I told her how happy I was, clapped with joy, and gave her a high five.

This may sound ridiculous but…

Eating that broccoli become a not so scary thing!

Here is another example:

Baby Boo likes chicken, and she is familiar with it enough that she isn’t scared to try it. So during dinner one night I paired chicken with broccoli, which she was becoming comfortable with, and some seasoned and baked polenta cubes.

I allowed her to eat at her own pace, checking to see if she would try the polenta. Then after a few minutes she picked a piece up and said, “what’s this?”


So we named it, talked about the color, and told her it was made of corn and then she tried it. She only took a few bites, but it didn’t bother me. Now she knew what it was, and each time I give her polenta, she will become more comfortable with it.

A lot of things can put a damper on the child’s appetite, and you have to take that into account on certain occasions. Here are just a few things that can change a child’s eating habits:




-Unknown? ๐Ÿ™‚

I threw the last one in there because sometimes for whatever reason your child may not want to eat a lot, or anything really. Unfortunately when they are so young they can’t tell you what is wrong and what they want. Just do your best to help ease whatever the baby is going through.

When Baby Boo is teething she loves smoothies. They are cold and require no eating or using her gums. We don’t have one smoothie that she drinks every time, we just kind of make it to include what I have on time. I always try to incorporate some sort of protein, grain, fruits, and veggies. Here is an example of a smoothie she loves:

Toddler Breakfast Smoothie

I posted this recipe on my Facebook page. For the recipe clickย HERE. For other green drink ideas check out my recipe pageย HERE.

Another favorite for Boo is pudding. It’s another sweet and cold food that easily requires no use of teeth or gums when she is in pain.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Recipe HERE.

Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Blend the following in a blender or food processor: 1 c. silken tofu, 1/3 c chopped banana(i used frozen), 4 tsp. cocoa powder, 2 TB. maple syrup, 2 tsp. coconut flour.

One of the biggest things that has worked for me with Baby Boo is letting her cook with me.

It’s a great learning lesson for her because she sees me cutting, stiring, pouring, mixing, cooking, and baking. On top of that, we talk about each of the ingredients and a lot of times she will see me taste them, and in return she wants to try them.

I’m not sure if your child is a fan of PB/nut butter sand whiches, but Baby Boo wasn’t. That was until one day we were making nut butter cookies and she wanted to try the peanut butter, so I let her.

She made me repeatedly dip that little spatula into the jar asking for “more” each time. Now, if I tell her there is Peanut butter (or any other nut butter) in her sand which (her favorite is Almond/sunflower butter with bananas and chia seeds) she eats it right up, and sometimes licks the bread! Whatever works right?


Actually now she prefers pancakes topped with a nut butter rather than Maple Syrup!

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

I usually always use pre-made pancake mixes because it’s a lot easier and time saving. I always buy a 100% whole wheat, buckwheat, spelt or gluten free mix. Then, depending on the amount of servings you are making, add some non dairy milk, an egg (or chia/flax egg) a little bit of cinnamon and banana chunks. Cook on stove, then top with creamy nut butter and serve.

Another benefit to cooking with your children is that they are more likely to want to try the finished product since they helped bring it together. A favorite of Baby Boo’s to make is muffins, which she is constantly cooking in her own mini kitchen.

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Banana Muffins

I originally posted this recipe on my Facebook page. For the recipe, clickย HERE.

And lastly, don’t be afraid to give them a bite of food that you make for yourself. A lot of times Baby Boo is so curious as to what the adults are eating and would rather try our food, which has resorted in her obsession with avocados and hummus.

Recently I let her try a cereal I was making for myself quite often, and now she is addicted just like her mama!

Popped Amaranth Cereal

Sweetened with a drizzle of Maple Syrup and Fresh Blueberries

In a medium/high heated saucepan add 1-2 TB. amaranth. Put a lid on the pan and shake the pan around on top of the heat. Soon after, you will hear a popping noise like popcorn. After 15-30 seconds, the amaranth will have been all the way popped, it will look puffed and white, and then pour it into a bowl. Continue to pop more amaranth until you have reached the amount you wish. For better instructions on popped amaranth cereal check it out HERE from edible perspective!

Everything on this page is nearly a suggestion, not something that works for every child. I’ve known mom’s with kids who could place anything and everything in front of their children and they would have no problem eating it, and to those mom’s I say, “You are so freakin’ lucky!” ๐Ÿ™‚

Whether or not your child is a picky eater or not, the main thing I want you to take from this post are these few things:

And more importantly….

I hope this post what somewhatย helpful to new mom’s out there. I tried to touch base on lot’s of information, but I couldn’t hit everything. So these are the topics I feel have stood out the most to be and worked best for Baby Boo. Talk with your doctors first before anything, and take into account your own motherly instincts and your child’s needs. You can’t go wrong when your trying to do what is best for your child! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now..I’m semi glad this whole post is done because I am so ready to get back to regular posting and normal food….


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  1. Love this! You’re totally right, it is SO hard especially when you’re a first time mom. You just want to make sure they eat! And then you feel bad for making a “mistake” but really, everyone makes them, especially because every kid is different. It’s all trial and error. Yeah, my kids get junk food some times, but I’m happy to say most of the time my kids will eat salad when it’s on their plate too. Although it wasn’t always that way. I especially love your “be an example” tip. That is so true! I don’t often have specifically “kid-friendly” food on my blog because my kids just eat what we eat. It’s so important to set a healthy example(from both parents – that’s the hard part, hah!)

  2. This post is amazing, and is exactly what I needed to hear! My twin girls, 18 months, are right in that picky eater stage and it can be so frustrating. They do eat a balanced diet with all the proper nutrients, but many times it’s a struggle and I find myself compromising on the total nutritional value of something. I love your success story with Boo, and it’s very inspiring. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for this awesome post!!! I know I’ll definitely be referring back to it when my little guy hits toddler stage.

  4. Pass along to my BFF (again!). I don’t have kids… can still eat the same food you feed Boo? Everything looks so delicious! I love that she has the palette of a “healthy living” blogger. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. bookmarking this page for when ( and if) I ever have kids!!! great info as always.
    and love the pictures – too cute!

  6. This is an excellent post and you gave out GREAT suggestions! I’m a registered dietitian and I just did a segment on TV about how to cope with your picky toddler! I DO believe that SO many mothers out there struggle with this and in my last job I worked with new moms all day long hearing the same problems you were having. One of the things that frustrated me MOST was that doctors were giving out poor nutritional advice; giving them milk all day. I wish every new mom could see a dietitian! I’m just glad you actually found a doctor who new a thing or two about the topic! It is rare (believe me). I think mom’s don’t realize that being picky is a normal defense mechanism that toddlers have and that it cane up to 30 exposures before a child will actually develop a tsate for something! I always suggest getting your tots involved in the kitchen and teaching them (like you are doing)! You have no idea what a significant impact you are making on her future health! You should be SO proud! I’m recently pregnant, so everything I know is from working with toddlers…nothing first hand! but I know that it’s not easy and can be extremely frustrating! I just hope I can be as great as you are! ps. your daughter is adorable! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • WOW! Thank you so much for all your compliments! I am very fortunate that I switched doctors, and and went to one that actually told me the right things to do. She too told me so many moms were doing what I was doing, so I definitely felt better knowing I wasn’t the only one…But it made me think how I need to let other mom’s out there know what I was told, so maybe I could help them! Congrats on being pregnant, I hope you are feeling well! Every baby is different, but your experience will make all the difference. I worked with kids for years before I had my daughter, and if it taught me anything it was to be patient! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your comment! It was very sweet!

  7. Love it!!

    I gae Ella roasted chick peas with turmeric and cumin the other night and she loved it! I ate half of it thought hahaha…so yummy!

    This post is so helpful, Ari! Thank you so much for it….I love how you feed Boo and I too can not WAIT to cook and prep foods with Ella!!!!

    yey for super moms!!!

  8. holy moly she is incredibly precious!!
    what an informative post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’m absolutely going to try some of these with my 3 year old. She’s the picky one, her little sister (11 months) eats anything. Just found you through my friend @The Planet Pink. Looking forward to many more recipes.

  10. Thank you for posting this! I needed some encouragement. My second daughter is 14 months old, a great eater, and has a milk allergy. Because my oldest is 4, I have fallen into the trap of feeding them both healthy foods, but not a ton of variety (quinoa, brown rice, broccoli, cauliflower, edamame, green beans, peas, corn, carrots, cuc, chicken, oatmeal pancakes, whole grain bread, the occasional Arrowroot cookie). This has inspired me to see what is out there and explore!

  11. They both also love berries and fruit (dried and fresh). ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. This is such a great post! (Can you tell I’m behind on my blog reading?!) You’re doing a great job and Baby Boo is so adorable. Thanks for the shout out for my blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I have to say, this is at least the 3rd time I have read this post and I love it so much!! You are such an inspirational mother and I will definitely be visiting your blog a lot when it is my turn ;). Thank you for your blog – reading it always cheers me up and makes me laugh, you and your family are beautiful and your recipes are amazing. Hope you all had a great Halloween, and that you have an awesome 5th of November :).
    Jade C

  14. i think i might try feeding my 8month old some of the avacado recipes. i just dont feel that jar baby food is enough for him any more. plus it lacks flavor and texture like “real food”

  15. I wish I would’ve found this sooner! I just posted on my blog about how hard it is to feed a baby/toddler and how confusing it can be! We are starting to figure things out, but this will become a HUGE resource! Thank you!

  16. I just commented on your post about snacking – and I’m going to also thank you for this one! Our toddler used to eat such a great variety of foods, people would comment about it all the time. I think we had a really great start but he is now refusing a lot of foods and I’m finding myself resorting to unhealthy options (which I think is a big part of the cause!). I’ve even begun to make him his own meal separate from what my husband and I are having because I don’t think he’ll like it – something I previously always tried to avoid and something I don’t want happening in my house. This post has given me a bit of confidence I need to start reversing the trend before it gets worse.

  17. Omg, I am so happy and glad I found this ladys post, I have been having so much trouble feeding my 19th month old. I too thougth I was the only one living this nightmare, I am totaly going, to change everything I have been doing with my bubu Nick, thank you so much for sharing .

  18. I loved these suggestions. I was very “pure” with the food I gave my now 21-month-old daughter, until she started daycare a couple of months ago. I still pack her lunch (I don’t like the quality of the food they serve there) and I make it as similar as possible to theirs, but with “real” ingredients. The problem is that now she has become tired of some of my snack alternatives, and I started to give her crackers and stuff she didn’t eat before. I don’t want to give her so much processed food, even if I buy them organic, whole wheat, blablabla. I don’t want her to feel different from other kids, however I am afraid of giving in and promote some kind of unhealthy habits and likes. Lately, she has become very picky and food she used to eat, now she refuses.

    • You are doing a great job Anabel, don’t you worry! If you teach your kids young about healthy eating and food, they will know and understand it. They may not always want to eat like that, and that’s ok! And two is SUCH a tricky age, my daughter definitely has her days! She went through a phase where she asked for cupcakes everyday because she had some at a family party lol!

  19. Thanks for this. I have a two year old who won’t eat very much at all other than bananas, plain yoghurt and the occasional oatcake. It’s very stressful but I try to be upbeat, and keep cooking exciting dishes for her. I’m soooo fed up with it though. She hasn’t eaten properly since July 2012, but she would eat any fruit until last month. I think she just got fed up with it. I blend/juice fruit, carrots etc. and hide it in her yoghurt, which is sometimes successful, but I’m frightened now that I’ll put her off eating the yoghurt! We cook together a lot, and we have great fun, but she always refuses to taste anything. She won’t even take a bite of anything other than the yoghurt and bananas, just shakes her head and very firmly says ‘NO’. I don’t make a big thing of it, but sometimes I go away and have a cry in the other room! I’m hoping it’s just a phase (the not-eating, not the crying!) but it’s tedious… In the meantime I make sure she gets a bottle of formula first thing in the morning and just before bed at night, it’s the only way to get some vitamins into her… thanks again, I’ll be trying some – or all- of your tips and recipes!

    • I’m so sorry you are going through that Lorna! I know first hand how hard it is, and since I’ve written this post my daughter has changed and grew up. We have new challenges now haha. So, I can say that these tough moments are phases! But trust me I have had my moments of tears and frustration! I will say that I was supplementing my daughter with formula for a while because I thought it would at least get something in her, but after a talk with my doctor, she told me to take it away completely. She said that I was making her full off of liquids like milk/formula and so when it came time to eat solid foods she didn’t want it because 1-she was either full from drinking too much and 2-she would rather just have a bottle/sippy of liquid and food wasn’t something she wanted to try. It was hard, but it made her hungry and she ate a lot more! I still gave her water, but I didn’t give her milk until after she had eaten. Before bed is a good idea! Good luck with everything. I am going to do an update in the near future! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I’m so glad to have stumbled across this! I’m starting to feel so stuck with my 2yos eating. He’s finally off the bottle but not eating anymore and now refusing milk! Seriously we’ve gone days with the only thing he’ll eat is dry cereal or corn chips (I make my own). I’ll try some of these. I hate to say I had kind of given up, just hoping my kiddo would eat anything and therefore offering ANYTHING. Thanks for posting!

  21. Thank you so much for this post. My 14-month-old is being super picky right now. Does a lot of “taste and throw on floor”…even with foods he likes! Will definitely be coming back to this!

  22. Thank you so much for the post my daughter is 17months and shes very picky right now.This will help lot.Having a hard time getting her to eat anything.

  23. I am absolutely in love with this post!! My son is such a picky eater, and on top of that he has a milk allergy!! So finding healthy foods for him to eat has been very hard!! You have me some great ideas that I can’t wait to try!! Thank you so much!????

    • You are welcome Leslie, thanks so much for your kind words! Understand your frustration, and I am so glad you are such a great mama to take care of your little boy!

  24. Meredith C. says:

    This post describes my 15 month old perfectly. I found this post on Pinterest while looking for some sort of insight on the picky eater situation and you give some great tips and recipes that I am definitely going to try on my little one! I clicked on your About Me section and was surprised to see you are a fellow BYU-Idaho alumni like myself and then I saw your family picture and my good friend/roommate Michelle K. from back in college was friends with your husband. So random! Anyway, I will be back to your blog again and THANK YOU for this great reassuring post.

    • Hi Meredith!
      SO glad to have you here as a new blog friend! And I totally know Michelle, she is the sweetest gal ever and my husband absolutely adores her! Tell her I said hi! And I hope you have some luck with your little 15 month :-)!

  25. Samantha says:

    I am so thankful I found this. Because this is totally my daughter.. And all she wants is her ba ba’s, it drives me crazy. And you are right even when I try and feed her I am more frustrated forcing her to eat, and we get no where. All she want is pretzels or anything salty. And since I told her doctor she didnt want to eat she told me to give her pediasure which made things worst since she now gets too full to want anything at all. I am a first mom and this is all new and hard. But this really helped and will try it all… THANKS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this post. You’re right about giving safe foods at each meal as well as introducing something new. If a child loves a certain item, try cutting it a different way. My son is in food therapy, and we have learned so much. Only thing is “coarse” should be course. Misspelled words distract me LOL.

  27. Phyllis says:

    I love this post too ! I just had the rest (all four) of my upper teeth out, and have to eat soft stuff for a couple of months until it’s healed up, and I can get the ‘upper plate’ fitted. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this post of friendly food. Much love and many blessings sent !!

  28. Great info! I wanted to mention that our pediatrician and allergy doctor said no flax, wheat germ,chia seeds, chocolate, or nuts until our little one turns 2. Of course my little one has a bunch of food allergies. My husband and I always eat the same food as her and we have no problems with her being picky thankfully.

  29. I’m a Pediatric nurse practitioner and every time I read a post like yours it breaks my heart to know that there are doctors out there giving mommies crappy advice!! I’m so glad that you found a new one that listened to your concerns and gave you good advice for how to fix it!! Thank you for posting this. Its a great resource for other mommies and I will be sharing it ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. I’m hoping that some of your tips work for me and my 19 month old. Even foods he used to love to eat, he hardly touches and I worry he’s not eating enough. So we’ll see how it goes.

  31. Omg I am so happy to have found your post!
    My son is doing the exact thing, always asking for milk and totally off his food atm. Granted he is sick and teething right now, but when he gets better, I’m trying this out.

    I feel so depressed when he doesn’t eat healthy, all he eats so far is starch and fruit!!
    Thanks for the ideas and how you did it!! You are a lifesaver!

  32. I SSOOOOO needed this! My 19 month old son is very picky. When he was a baby, I made all of his food from scratch and now that he is older, he only wants certain things making mealtime stressful and worrying me to death about him not getting all the nutrients he needs. I loved this web site and appreciate all the advice.


  33. I was in tears this morning over meal planning for my 18 month old twins. Trying to plan appropriate meals for toddlers is so overwhelming, especially when all you want are ideas for truly healthy, simple and realistic meals. The tears are now gone, and I am feeling empowered to build that shopping list now. Thanks for being the right blog, in the right place, at the right time.

    • Hi Cari!
      I hate to hear that you are in tears! I’m so sorry the frustrations that this is bringing you! But, I definitely have been there before, and I will say that you have to give yourself more credit :). You are doing the best you can!! Kids appetites, preferences, and food choices change daily, it’s hard to please them haha! Just give your 18 month old lots of love, and tell your self you are doing a great job!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. I just found your post on Pinterest. It was such a relief to read! This is my daughter to a T! She is 17 months, and although she is off the bottle, I feel like we rely heavily on her Soy Milk for nutrition because she will barely eat anything! I’m pretty sure our list is even smaller than yours. I’m definitely putting your advice to work immediately. I hope it works for us! Thanks for writing!

  35. Hi there! Thank you for sharing this insightful article. My daughter just turned 2. Just like you I’m a new-ish mom. I may have taught my daughter bad eating habit. She refuses to eat fruits. She eats chicken nuggets, pizza, scrambled egg, sweets and pasta with my home cooked spaghetti sauce infused with blended varieties of veggies like spinach, mushroom, carrots and broccoli. (That’s the only way I get to make her eat veggies). And I can’t always just feed her that. I need to introduce her to different varieties of food. But I’m afraid she might not eat it. Is there still hope in correcting her eating habits? I sometimes feel like a terrible mother for not feeding her enough and healthy. I love reading your posts. Keep sharing your experiences with your baby! Good luck and God bless!

    • Hi Presh! First of all you are NOT a terrible mother! My oldest child is the pickiest eater, and she doesn’t like to try new foods. She only likes to eat the foods she likes and that’s it. Everyday it’s a work in progress. And guess what, I started feeding her healthy from day one! I’ve just learned that I have to focus on the foods she loves and go from there. So for example, if your daughter loves eggs, serve it along side a green smoothie and a muffin mixed with grated zucchini or carrots. Does that make sense? If your daughter loves pizza, use that homemade pizza sauce which is perfect! Make a whole grain crust or even a cauliflower crust! (A recipe could be found online!) I still introduce healthy foods alot to my daughter and sometimes I get lucky and she will try them, and sometimes not! Don’t worry, you are doing great and it is never to late to start eating healthy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. This post was immensely helpful to me! Our daughter is a fairly good eater but we struggle with some foods. Like your pedi suggested, I was offering too much at meal times. I started going her only 2 or 3 things per plate and that worked wonders! I have also learned to let her try the new stuff first – if she sees something she loves (crackers, broccoli, etc.), she’s less likely to try and like the new item on he plate. Thanks for the tips!

  37. Christinamtz102 (Pinterest) says:

    I absolutely enjoyed this read!!! I am dealing with this problem with my 12 month old…definitely gonna try some of your recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Stephanie says:

    I am SO glad I found this post! We are going through the exact same thing with our 14 month old son (our first child as well). Our pediatrician gave us the same advice about the milk and I also felt it went against my “motherly instinct”. I am definately going to try your advice and recipies. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!!

  39. Exactly what I needed to read! Food is such a terrible subject here with my 15 month old ๐Ÿ™ he would still nurse 98% of the day! with an occasional graham cracker. So stressed about it. Thank you for this!!,

  40. thanks for the info ! … I was getting a little bit crazy bit this picky eater that I have ?

  41. Hi, love your post. We had a very happy baby. She used to eat anything I put Disney. She would squish it and suck and then… She kept getting terrible ear infections. She stopped wanting most foods. She basically ate: eggs, crackers, cheese and chicken noodle soup. Oh and the occasional piece of French bread. I was devastated. In had made all her baby purรฉe forms scratch so she didn’t get any nasties and THiS was my reward! Around her second birthday she had to go for surgery to remove her adenoids and place tubes in her ears. Amazing change she coils hear for starters. And while she was under they took blood to test for allergies and intolerances. Turns out she can’t eat eggs, gluten or dairy. And within 3 weeks of the elimination diet she started trying different food again. Fruit, prawns, veggies. I am elated!!! So always keen an open mins as to why your baby who used to love experimenting with good stops eating.

  42. I never eat tofu because I love meat, BUT that Chocolate Tofu Pudding looks amazing and so smooth. I’ll have to try that. It is true that you have to pay attention to your child’s needs and not expect them to eat just because it is routine for me to eat at the same time everyday…they may not be hungry, or even too tired to eat! I have struggled with getting my kids to eat until I read this article… I have encouraged my kids to try new things and my 4 year old is so good about it as long as it is not mixed with other stuff. But I was making the mistake of always putting the amount of food on her plate that I thought she should eat so I could kind of monitor whether she was getting enough to be healthy and happy throughout the day. But as soon as I gave her the control, dirtied a few more dishes by setting it on the table instead of serving from the stove, and letting her dish up – she was excited to take what she wants and eats more!

  43. So, I’ve never made chickpeas before but want to introduce my 15m old to new things. We had to go dairy free, I’m NOT a good cook at all (at least not creative), and she eats the same ole things every day :/ Do you use a can of chickpeas? I’ve never made them before but want to do the most toddler friendly version.

  44. PS- the commenters made me feel so much better! I’m glad I’m not alone. Going from purees to toddler food was fun at first, then their appetite picks up, they become pickier, and all they want is bananas, bread and french fries :/ I struggle to get a veggie into my girl. I’m pretty sure she goes DAYS without any. #momfail I don’t have time to really cook much so sneaking it in to things is a major time issue for me, but this article helps ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you.

    • Not a mom fail at all Laura! One doctor told me something that I’ve kind of always used with my kids…She said that with little ones you have to measure the food they eat within a week, and not within a day. Some days kids are sick, teething, cranky, playful, etc. They changed their mood and preferences all the time, so don’t be hard on yourself! We are all here supporting you!
      And you can use canned chickpeas, or dried and cook them. It’s your preference. I like using dried, because it makes a bunch and I can use the leftovers to make hummus :)!

  45. Hi Arielle, Great post! I have a 21-month son who is a fairly good eater, but he has a bad habit of just swallowing the food instead of chewing it. I don’t puree his food but it’s on the softer side (e.g. oatmeal, scrambled eggs, etc) Do you have any recommendations on how to encourage toddlers to chew their food? Or ideas of what types of food to offer so that he can practice? Right now, if i offer him something a bit harder, he bites it, rolls it around his mouth, and then spits it out!

    • Hi Tanya,
      I don’t have to much knowledge in this type of thing, but I would definitely try showing your son how to chew by your actions. (Putting food in your mouth and showing him how you chew.) More importantly I would suggest talking to your doctor about that, and seeing what they say. Does he have a lot of teeth? I remember my kids not chewing everything too much, so you definitely have to be careful what you give them :). Hope that helps somewhat!

  46. Just found you and this article on Pinterest!! I am going through the exaxt same thing right now. My son won’t eat anything:( he just wants his baba. How did it go when you took bottles away? I’ve tried and then I cave due to meltdowns. It’s so hard being a mommy when you just want your children to be happy and healthy. I agree he just fills up with milk and never wants to eat anything else and he knows I will give in. So I guess you are the push that I needed. ๐Ÿ™‚ no more bottles. I need to tell myself he will eat if he’s hungry. I guess I am lost at what to give him to eat starting out if he won’t really eat anything at this point.

    • Hi Nicole, I know how hard it is, especially when the meltdowns occur. Im learning that even as they get older there are still tantrums over things that I have to say no to. It’s SO hard. I would switch to sippy cups and still give him milk in those, just not as much. Or use the bottle only for nap times. Just keep reinforcing and introducing. You can do it!

  47. Alessandra says:

    Hello, Arielle, thank you so much for this post! I know it’s been a while, but I just came across with it now, as I am desperately searching the net for recipes for my 17-month old super picky eater daughter…It is so frustrating cooking for fours and having her refusing everything I put in front of her. She’s in the phase of only eating white rice, plain pasta, some fruits, mozzarella cheese and yoghurt.
    I do offer her a lot of bottles, though, and I can see that might be a huge part of the problem. How many bottles did the doctor told you to give to your daughter? Did you give her a bottle first thing in the morning? Thank so you much once again and all the best to you and all the moms living the same dilemma…

  48. Great article. I’m going through such a hard time feeding my little guy. I, like you, have him milk so that he would have something in his stomach, but all he wants is milk too. You said you took away the bottles…did she ever ask for milk? If so what did you do? I’d I don’t give my guy milk he throws a tantrum Abe won’t eat anything. Hope you have some advice!

  49. Thank you so much, I needed this in my life. I am soo soo stressed coz my 2 year old wont eat much. It would be a handful or couple of bites throughout the day and most of his diet is JUST PLAIN MILK. And yes, we keep giving him that so that there is something going in that little belly. You are sooo right! Thanks so much! Will try all these ideas!

  50. Sammy's mummy says:

    Just came across this article on Pinterest. As I’m having a toddler who’s just started being picky about her food this article has so many interesting ideas and ways to incorporate new types of food to her diet. Thank you for sharing this and imparting with your knowledge.

  51. Alexandra says:

    This post is so great! I felt like I was reading my own story while reading yours! My daughter is so picky and I am embarrassed sometimes of how much cheese, yogurt, crackers, etc. that she eats but most days I have a really hard time getting her to eat anything else!!
    I can’t wait to try these recipes, they look delicious!

  52. I just realized this article is years old… But I just came across the website today. My little guy turned 18 months today and last night I had a breakdown and was feeling so awful as a mom. We’ve gotten into a bad habit of trying to feed him new foods and after he refuses we’ll give him something he approves of (pbj, peaches, and a shake). He is not interested in new foods. Will not even try it if it look unfamiliar. It is SO frustrating. Also, he won’t eat if he is fed… He wants to feed himself. So much food is wasted because he hasn’t mastered the spoon/fork. I try to give him fruits and vegetables but if it’s slick or sticky he wants to constantly have his hands washed. I’ll try some of your suggestions and hopefully with some patience we’ll improve.

    • Hi Lisa! I know exactly how you feel :).Promise me you won’t feel like a horrible mom, I promise you that you aren’t! If you are researching and looking for answers, that right there tells me you care and are trying your hardest! This post was written when my oldest was just a baby, and now I am on my 3rd baby girl. All my girls went through this, and if there is one thing I’ve learned is that eventually they eat, that’s why it’s important to keep introducing the foods you want them to eat. But don’t forget to include the foods like enjoy as well. Introduce one new thing at a time constantly. Save what you can, and just continue to introduce. All of my kids enjoy different things, and now my oldest (who was a baby at the time this was written) will try mostly anything and eat almost everything on her plate. It’s such a hard time, but keep it up! Have some ice cream and treat your self and continue on mama! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. The only thing my 5 year old will eat is cheese and junk. Everyone days he’ll grow out of it but it’s been a couple years now and he still won’t eat or try anything New ๐Ÿ™

  54. Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve been having a break down all day because my 18 month old son is not eating very much, only a small selection of foods. It is so frustrating and emotional, and he knows I get frustrated and he gets frustrated and won’t eat. And I just didn’t know what to do to help him eat more healthy things. I am so glad I found this tonight! It gives me hope that I can help him eat better!

    • I’m so sorry for the rough day you had Bailee! I know it can be so incredibly hard, and I’m glad this post could give you some hope! It does get better that I can promise you, and as long as you keep offering them healthy choices/food in general they will begin to try new things with time. My favorite thing that has worked with all 3 of my kids has been taking what they love and always incorporating that with their meals. If everything on their plate is new, they won’t want to try it. You are doing a great job! Have a cookie and give your self a pat on the back! ๐Ÿ™‚

  55. Its hard. My son 15 months doesn’t want to eat anything that isn’t sweet ๐Ÿ™ he’ll only eat fries, letter soups, bananas, & anything sweet like cereal & pancakes. He doesn’t even want to sit on a high chair -.- it worries me a lot he drinks a lot of milk because I rather him drink milk than for him to have an empty stomach.

    • Hi Lidia! I know it’s so hard, but you are doing a good job! One thing that helped was limiting the milk. I used to supplement with milk a lot because I was afraid my girls would be hungry, but in reality I was making them too full to eat. Hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. This was really helpful. Thanks.


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  2. […] A while back I did a week long series all about toddler food and picky eaters. (If you haven’t checked it out, please do!) […]

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