28 answers

19 Month Old Picky Eater

The older my 19 month old son gets, the pickier he gets in his eating habbits. I especially have a hard time with him with dinner. He only eats a few things and this makes it hard for me to prepare meals for him. He usually eats chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, hot dogs, pizza, or sometimes a scrambled egg. I know that some of these things are not the most nutritious, but if he eats them at least I'm happy. Sometimes he won't even eat them. He won't even eat a grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly anymore. He rarely eats any veggies. I still offer them to him once a day, but he usually just plays with them. I have even tried making him little english muffin pizzas and he won't eat that either. He knows it's not real pizza and won't eat it. However, he does love fruit and will usually always eat that whether it is fresh or unsweetened canned. I've been told it is normal at his age (19 months) to be a very picky eater, but I am looking for other things I could try giving him that he might enjoy. I would like maybe some ideas that are easy and somewhat healthy. I get tired of giving him the same thing all of the time. I would appreciate any ideas anyone has to offer.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

I have continued to offer my son what he likes, but I also put something on his plate about once a day that he normally wouldn't take a bite of. I figure if he sees it often enough, he might be willing to try it. For example, I still put steamed carrots on his dinner plate eventhough he usually doesn't touch it. I have also tried artichokes because those are kind of fun to eat and you can dip them. He hasn't eaten either, but hopefully he will come around. I have also started making my own juice and he loves it. I can make carrot juice and add a little bit to his apple juice or a smoothie and he doesn't mind it.

Thank you everyone for all of the suggestions. I appreciate the time you all took to respond.

Featured Answers

Hi L., my son is also 19 months and a picky eater. However, I can always get him to eat a lil' entre, they are pre-packaged and very nutritional. He loves them.


I have the same problem with my 3 1/2 yr. old. He basicaly lives on cereal. I finally got him to try certain foods by asking him if he wants to be strong like his daddy. He at least eats carrots now. If you find something that works let me know. Thanks

Well, my daughter just loved Pokemon cartoons when she was little, so anytime I wanted her to try something she did not normally eat, I'd just tell her that it was Pokemon food and she would not only try it, but ended up loving it!

More Answers

My 20 month old son is great about eating almost anything, but I think it is because I have exposed him to a lot of things. The best tricks I have found to work in more veggies are: Friday we have a pizza night, I make my own dough,(but you can buy it) I top it with lowfat cheese, shredded chicken, broccoli, other veggies, (or leftover odds & ends) He loves it & it is a great way to sneak in veggies. I also make at least 1 big pot of soup per week, if you puree it you can add all kinds of veggies & kids won't even know. I sprinkle a little cheese on top & he finishes a bowl no problem!

I know processed food is easy to prepare in a hurry, but once kids are "hooked" it is really hard to wean them off it. The Home extension office in my area offers some really great cooking classes for buget minded home cooks. I do almost all my own cooking. I have really saved money, buy not buying any ready made foods, I have lost almost 20 pounds & I feel great.
If you need any recipes, I would be happy to post.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,
I just wanted to add a little more information for your issue.
First of all welcome to the almost 2's. a real fun age because they are much more verbal. enjoy it while you can.

Some things to think about....
1. Your child is not growing as fast as he was in the past. Growth slows down and appetite slows down. Right now his job is to play, have fun and learn about everything (this includes manipulation). Our job is to offer food 5-6 times a day. When I say offer, do not ask him if he wants it, just place him at the table, high chair or somewhere free of distractions. Allow him to pick and choose if he wants it, how much he wants to eat. If you let him graze nonstop thruout the day, then he will forget what it feel like to be hungry and/or full.
2. Your child is also going thru what is called a "food jag".
this basically means he like s 2-3 things and ask for just those items. It is ok to give into those food jags as long as you are offering other foods at the same time.
3. Every person has likes and dislikes. However at this age it does not mean your child will never eat a food he dislikes. Try offering it a different way..... If he wont eat veggies but will eat spagetti sauce or pizza. puree some veggies and sneak it in the sauce. It has to be pureed or they will pick it out. My daughter would not eat veggies until 2 1/2 years old. We found out one day at grandma's garden... it's not that she doesn't like veggies, just not cooked veggies. So try some dips, kids love ketchup. Her first veggie was carrots dipped in ketchup (YUK!, but I'm not the one eating it.) He still may be too young for uncooked veggies but something to think about later on. You may need to place a food on his plate 15 times before he will even touch it. But if we don't put it on thier plate because he didin't like it yesterday, he will never get used to it being there and we're not giving the child a chance to change his mind. Becareful about being a short order cook. It's ok to cook according to the jags, but remember offer other choices at the same time. I had a rule in my house... if my children did not like something, I would not make them eat it. I still put it on thier plate and they could remove it onto thier napkin (touch is the first step of tasting), I would offer atleast 1 thing a night that I knew they would like, but I would not allow snacking until 1 1/2 - 2 hours after meal time. Have you ever heard the word... "I can't eat another bite or I will die", 5 minutes later... can I have a snack. If my child truley doesn't like what we are having for dinner, the last option I offer is, a bowl of high iron cereal thats also low in sugar. But remember there is a big difference
between I don't like and I don't feel like eating that.
4. Do you know how much your child should be eating? The correct serving size for your child is about 1 1/2 tablespoons of food per food group. One jar of stage two baby food is the eqivalent of one tablespoon. I know it looks like alot more. Is your child still on whole milk? children between the age of 12 months till 24 months, should be on whole milk only. They still need the extra fat for a growing brain. However, your child should not drink more than 16-20 oz. a day. If we fill up on milk, we don't have to eat. Does your child drink juice every day? Everybody needs a good source of vitamin c every day. However, he should not be drinking more than 10-12 oz/day. Is your child still on the bottle? This not only effects thier appetite, but you can run the risk of bottle rot (nursing bottle syndrome) and low iron. If you are still using the bottle, its time to go!!!!! TRy offering water only and everything else from a cup. If your child is drinking from a cup but exceeds the recommended allowance for juice or milk, try filling the cup with ice. Ice takes up space but does not change the flavor. Your child is getting old enough to know, I usually get this much, now I'm getting less. Save your self the argument. Quick example.....
your child needs 1150 calories a day in order to grow. If your child is drinking 5, 8oz bottles or cups of milk (equals 730 calories) and is drinking 3, 8oz cups/bottles of juice (equals 345 calories) add those together and we get 1075 liqiud calories and that only leaves 75 calories needed by food in order to grow. If you drank a gallon of milk thruout the day tomorrow, how hungry would you be? How much would you eat besides that gallon of milk? I give my children a choice at meal time.... milk or water? there is nothing else offered during meal time. Maybe even offer liquids after meal time. Drinking with our meals is a habit not a nessecity.
5. Do you know about WIC? I actually work for WIC and have done so for 13 years. I've only been with the Arizona WIC for a little over 1 year but I worked for Massachusetts WIC for almost 12 years. WIC can be (not all) a great source of information. I am not a registered nutritionist but we have one in BULL Head city, Lake havasu and Kingman. Her name is Brenda and she could give you more info. If you would like to call her ... call Kingman WIC @ ###-###-#### and ask for Brenda or Deb. They both can offer more great advice.
Good luck, alot to think about! Try not to make eating a power struggle, ignore it, do not comment, not even try one bite, it often backfires! I am 35 years old and will not eat pea's. I could swallow them whole for a million dollars (but I could eat alot of disqusting things for a million)To this day my own Mother will say... stop picking those peas out of your fried rice. She will say... You can't even taste them. Well, I remember sitting at the dinner table gagging down pea's. It took over three hours and I gagged with every bite. I was permanently damaged as a child, with pea's. To this day, I will not eat them. I still tease her, oh the damage you have caused. Mom, I will never be normal.
Well, I think I covered the most important things on my list of do's and don't with feeding the 1 1/2 to 5 year age group.If you have any further questions feel free to email me a person note.
H. B.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,
Here are my two cents for what its worth.
If your son likes fruit, perhaps yogurt would be a healthy quick snack. Also if you can find a cereal that he likes most of them are fortified with vitamins and minerals and are an easy on the go snack in a bowl or sandwich bag. Beef Jerky may be an alternative for protein. My daughter also loves pretzels, which I feel better about giving her than chips.
Good Luck.

Hunny I'm not trying to be rude, but at 19 months old the diet that you said he is on dosen't sound like the most healthy diet for a 1 1/2 year old. He really should still be eating toddler food. I would contact a Dr. or look up apropriate food items for his age. I say this because I gave my 1 year old that food that we ate, because he wanted it, and now he's almost 8 and has many problems with alergies. You may say oh no not my kids, I did to, and now i wished I would have listened.
Preparing the same things or things that he wants to eat at this age is fine. There tummys are still learning how to dygest food. It may be a combination between certain textures he likes to eat, or what he knows his body can handle, his body will send signals his brain to not eat other food that he may not dygest properly.
Sorry about the spelling it is not my forte. Hope this helps.

He may sense the impending arrival of comeptition and be acting out, but it is probably simply a natural phase. The three things kids learn early on that they can control is what they put in their mouths, where and how they do their "business," and when they drift off to sleep. So what you have on your hands is a power struggle. Rather than make what he eats a huge issue, simply make a meal for your family and then enjoy eating it with him. Eat the kinds of foods you think are nutritious and delicious, and lead by example. Comment how much you like the meal, how tasty it is etc, and not even directly to your son, but to your husband or to yourself, but let him see YOU doing what you want him to do. The most powerful parenting tool, especially in small children, is modeling the behavior we expect of our children. And don't worry, he won't starve himself. DON'T get into the habit of accomodating his fussy palate, he will manipulate you using your fear or guilt into getting his own way.

One thing to consider is how much juice he is drinking between meals. Juice contains a lot of calories, and if he is drinking calories between meals he may not know what hungry "feels" like. If he doesn't feel hunger, then he misses a vital reason for eating-food is fuel first, entertainment last.

I'm single mother of a 22 month old son and a 3.5 year old daughter. My children have there months where there very picky eaters. Its just because this is there off month or two for growing. My daughter wont eat ore than 2 bites of her meals if that on her off months and my son can eat like 3 hotdogs mac and cheese and still have room for a full glass of milk maybe more on his on months. My girlfriend has a son who wont eat any noodles. He did this for about a year after he turned 3 and he was short for his age. He got real tall whle cutting noodles out of his diet and skinny too. Then one day all he wanted was noodles and he got some meat on him. Now he's as cute as can be. So its really about there growth. You can't make them eat. but its not like there gonna get sick if they dont. Just make sure he has plenty of water at least all the bad stuff with get washed out with that.

One idea I heard was quesadillas. This lady on a cooking show said her kids would eat basically anything if it was served in a quesadilla. Worth a try?

I also have a 19mo old son and he wont eat anything that dosent desolve in his mouth
all meats are out
Im hoping he will grow out of it
Good Luck!!

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