17 answers

My 2 Year Old Is Such a Picky Eater!

Does anyone have any advice on normal eating habits for a 2 year old? My daughter is so hard to feed. Of course she loves fruit but when it comes to eating normal food she almost always puts up a fight. I was hoping to maybe get some recipes to try or is this just normal for her age. I hope this doesn't last long. Thank you for any advice you can give me.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I would like to thank everyone for the great advice and tips. It's really helped me to be less stressed out about how much my daughter is eating and it's nice to know that it's normal. And best part is the tips are working! The less I make a big deal about it the more she's eating on her own. I just try to always offer some sort of snack or food that I might be eating. She still prefers her fruit but she's trying new things as well. I've also bought her Pediasure and gummy multi-vitamins (which she loves). So thank you to all of you for your help.

Featured Answers

Hi T.,
My twin girls are 3. One eats everything, and the other only eats fruits as well. She will only take a few bites of food and walk away. She knows when she's hungry and she'll eat. I wouldnt push just yet, fruit is good for her. Have you heard of a product called juiceplus ? It has 17 fuits and veggies in gummy form. I can give you more info if you like. As well as info to work at home. :)

What you described is normal behavior for that age. Just keep offering her different foods, don't make her eat anything she doesn't want, and eventually she'll expand her palate and eat more things. Be patient.

More Answers

My 2 year old daughter is also very picky. I can't even get her to eat fruit. I brought this issue up with my doctor, and he told me that at this age, instead of worrying about 3 good meals a day I should try and get her to eat 3 good meals a week. He told me to always offer her what we are having, and to make all ofour meals be balanced. She should see my husband and I eating our veggies! So, I always do this, and usually she won't touch a bite of anything on her plate and I end up making her a cheese sandwich or quesadilla (basically the only 2 foods she will eat). I have gotten some success with giving her stuff that she can dip in "sauce". She really likes that. I also try and add healthier versions to what I know she will eat. I make home made maccaroni and cheese and use whole grain pasta. I also use whole grain breads in sandwiches. I buy the fortified orange juice. Stuff like that. Hopefully some of that helps.

Most kids are picky eaters. My pediatrition told me once to look at what my son was eating over a week's time vs. each day. He told me that most likely my son was getting his nutritional needs met on a weekly basis.

It's completely normal for her age.

My only bit of advice is to not make a big deal about food. Just put it on her plate and don't discuss it any more. She won't starve herself. When she gets hungry, she will eat. But if you make an issue out of it, it becomes nothing but a power struggle. (I learned this the hard way with my daughter)

Once I stopped even thinking twice about it, she started eating more. Don't get me wrong, there were a couple of nights that I was certain she'd wake up starving because she barely ate a thing at dinner, but she only did that a couple of times and now she just eats what we eat.

As everyone here has said - don't sweat it. One of the things you might want to try is sneaking nutrients into her favorite foods and adding vitamins to her regimen.
One of the things that I would do for my kids was add Carnation instant breakfast to milk and frozen fruit and yogurt, blend well, add a fun straw and it's shakes for breakfast! It's worth a shot.

Have you tried subscribing to kraftfoods.com? They will send you weekly e-mails with different meals to try. They often focus on fun and different meals for kids. Sometimes if it looks fun my three year old will at least taste it before outright refusing. You also get a quarterly magazine with recipes as well. You can always get online and look up their kid-friendly recipes too. Hope it helps!

My 2yr. old goes through fits & phases as well. I was told by my Dr. to consistently offer new foods, but not to push it. If she's going through a phase where all she wants is pasta, then let her have it...as long as you are at least offering her other foods.

I also don't let messes stand in the way of what I feed her. She loves soup, and while she's pretty good at feeding it to herself, it's still quite messy. However, I let her do it because it's the only way she'll eat it & it's really the only way she's going to learn to feed herself.

Some foods my daughter likes are pasta with marinara or pesto sauce, soup (almost any kind), eggs, chicken (but it has to be very small bites or she spits it out), beans (baked or refried), waffles with lo-fat peanut butter, almost any fruit, corn (on or off the cob), peas and steamed diced carrots. And while I hate to feed her frozen, processed foods, I do try & keep some Kids Cuisine frozen dinners on hand for when we don't have anything else she's willing to eat.

Welcome to the "picky eater" club! My 3 year old daughter is also a picky eater. *Very* picky so I know exactly what you're going through. We finally decided that we were most comfortable with the advice from "How to get your child to eat, but not too much" which is very basically, you give your child a variety of choices at each meal (but don't make a seperate meal for them) and they can choose - or not choose - from the available choices. Feed them at regular scheduled times so they know that there will be another meal or snack and then, basically drop the issue. Don't nag (the hardest part) or conjole. Simply present good, healthy choices and leave it to them to decide whether to eat or not. Make sure that you're presenting good choices for them.
Basically, the philosophy is that you can bring a child to the table, but you can't make them eat - unless you want to inflict lots of emotional damage on them. It's taken the conflict out of meals in our house. She may choose to only eat the bread or the macaroni, but every once in a while, she will try a new food at her own volition. Since her father is an extremely picky eater (yuck! to any green vegetable) I was not at all surprised to find the trait had passed on to our daughter and I have decided that it's better for us all to not make an issue out of it. Taste is such an individual thing - many people don't understand why I don't like seafood - but to me it just tastes horrible. I don't stop others in my family from enjoying it - I just choose to not partake of the lobster and will eat the other offerings. I think that's why the method outlined in the book so appealed to me. I highly suggest the book because the advice is much more detailed than I can cover here, but if you're looking for a way to take the fight out of meals and instead gently show your child that trying new foods is not the end of the world, this is one of the best ways I have found to do it.


I'm not sure what exactly you have tried, but I always found that if you offer things in different ways, that usually works...for example, if your child doesn't like veggies, say peas, corn, or whatever, make a casserole of some type with those veggies in it. My daughter went through a phase like that, and i asked her doctor about it, and she told me that if she is eating something and gaining weight, not to worry it is just something that a lot of kids go through. I have a friend whose daughter would only eat hot dogs and chicken nuggets for the longest time...she got over it and now eats everything...hope this helps!! Good luck!!

I had the same thing going on when my daughter was 2 and all I did was make her fun foods, pancake people, fruit salad with strawberry yogurt mixed in and most of all I juiced her fruit and veggies together. If you are going to juice veggies you should put just a dab of Kero syrup to add sweetness. Carrott apple juice was the best one! Also kids Ensure drinks are a healthy way to get her vitamins and peanut butter for protine!

Dont worry, they just go through this stage and they wont fall apart if they dont eat alot, if she gets hungry enough she will eat! Remember they eat according to their growth spurts and energy use! In a few months your little girl will be piggin out!

Good luck and have fun being creative!


Hi T.-
I have a two year old too. Eating time can be quite te battle. What SOMETIMES works is we give him his portions one at a time. Starting with the one he likes the least first. So if the meal was a sloppy joe, fruit and corn we would give him the sloppy joe. After he eats some of that then the corn and then the fruit. Also sometimes I have to ignore him while he eats, if there is not an audience then usually he eats much better and neater!

Hi, I have a 2 yr old, and she eats sparatically too. I think it is normal at this age, as long as they are eating a little, like the others advice, look at it over a span of a week. Your little one should have a multi and a flouride at this age, so at least they are getting vitamins. I think giving your child the same food you eat helps to, especially when they see you are enjoying the food you eat, they are more apt to try it, rather than them seeing they have a totally different plate of food. At 2 they should be able to eat what we eat. I also noticed that she eats more when we are all sitting at the table together. We have busy schedules so this is hard to make happen every night, but simple things like the eating routine itself may help.
Good Luck!

Hi T.,
My twin girls are 3. One eats everything, and the other only eats fruits as well. She will only take a few bites of food and walk away. She knows when she's hungry and she'll eat. I wouldnt push just yet, fruit is good for her. Have you heard of a product called juiceplus ? It has 17 fuits and veggies in gummy form. I can give you more info if you like. As well as info to work at home. :)

yes, i have some advice. you need to read the book, "My Child Won't Eat" by Gonzalez. it really helped me with my 14 month old twin girls. i'm not stressed out anymore when it's time to feed them.

I am a foster mom and have had many 2 year olds. Picky eating is pretty normal at age 2. You can't force them to eat, of course, but this will pass, and soon you will want them not to eat so much. Try to keep a well balanced diet for the child and don't worry if they don't eat the meets and vegies. Keep offering foods and soon they will eat them.
This sounds like a strange snack, but my kids love it and it is a creditable snack with Midwest Child Care Association. Fix up some Cheerios as you would popcorn. A bowl of Cheerios, a little butter and a little salt.
Good luck, and keep trying,

What you described is normal behavior for that age. Just keep offering her different foods, don't make her eat anything she doesn't want, and eventually she'll expand her palate and eat more things. Be patient.

It's pretty normal....I did things like make faces (out of fruits, bacon, sausage) on pancakes. Cut p,b& J sandwiches with cookie cutters. Put tuna in Mac n cheese. Fruit cocktail in cottage cheese.... Get her some of the gummy vitamins just to be sure if she is limiting her food choices. Try not to get too frustrated,it will become about control and that has some adverse affects (eating disorders) We had ( and still have) a try it (1 "REAL" BITE) AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT a-o.k THEN TRY AGAIN IN A COUPLE MORE WEEKS......Taste buds change....heehee
Enjoy...It goes WAY fast!!!
A litle about me: I have a 5 mo old and 16 yr old!!!!

I have a picky 2 year old too! I wish I had some grand advice to offer, but I really don't. I have started giving him a multi-vitatmin to at least help ensure he is getting his nutritional needs met. They make all kinds of gummy ones that kids don't seem to mind. I have also started feeding him whatever we have for dinner. I used to make something seperate, that I knew he would like, but recently I decided this maybe wasn't the best avenue. So I am giving him what we eat for dinner, and I have noticed that he is starting to try more foods. Some nights he doesn't eat much, but other nights he is suprising me by trying foods he used to refuse. If nothing else rest assured that you are not the only one in this situation. :)

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.