18 Month Old Picky Eater

Updated on December 31, 2006
J.S. asks from McKinney, TX
6 answers

Hi. I have a 18 month old that is not a good eater! I remember my 6 year old not being much of an eater at this age either, but it is very frustrating! One day he likes something and the next he doesn't. I'm looking for meal and snack ideas for him. We do the usual hot dogs, mac n cheese, fruit cups, pretzel sticks, goldfish crackers, pizza, grapes, strawberries... he doesn't do chunk cheese or any veggies! He loved the jarred pureed veggies when he was younger but now refuses to eat them. I would love any suggestions or ideas anyone can give me. Thanks so much!

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answers from Dallas on

We've gone through this with both of ours (3 1/2 and 21 mo). It's really true about needing to offer something to a toddler a bunch of times before they try it. We didn't know what to do about this when our daughter was this age, so we just gave up trying. With our son, however, I decided to try something different. I'd heard that you have to offer something a lot, so when he suddenly quit eating broccoli, I decided not to say anything about it. I quit serving it for a while. Then I put it back on the grocery list for a couple weeks and served it to him once a day for 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks he actually picked it up and ate it. I never said a word to him about it...no coaxing or bribing, etc. We did the same thing when we introduced blueberries. At first he took them off his plate and set them on the table. I didn't say a word about it. Then he started playing with them, then after 2 weeks he ate a handfull. I was so amazed at our success that I told a friend about it and she tried the same thing with her daughter to get her to eat mango, and it worked!

I would encourage you not to fall into the trap of only feeding him hot dogs and macaroni just to get him to eat. He won't starve himself! We really had to have resolve on this, but we serve the kids exactly what we're eating. They can have as much or as little as they want of whatever is on the table. Granted, if we're having pork, green beans and mac n cheese, you can bet they hardly touch anything but the mac n cheese, but that's fine. The point is that I'm not preparing a special meal for the kids, and I'm not making any issue about food (as soon as I make it an issue, they make sure meal times are unpleasant). There have even been times when they hardly ate two bites of what was served, but every time this happens they clean their plates at the next meal no matter what it is! And you can bet that if they skip two meals, I could serve brussel sprouts at the next one and they'd eat it. Even if they refused to eat dinner, we sent them off to bed without it (though occasionally we let them drink a little milk before bed for fear they'll wake up in the middle of the night -- I don't want to lose sleep over their choice to not eat!). If they say they're hungry, I tell them, "I believe you! I'd be hungry too if I skipped dinner. Don't worry though, I'll fix you a wonderful breakfast in the morning." And I do! Pancakes, waffles, eggs, whatever -- and they eat every bite.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Hi J.! My daughter is the same way. Luckily these little ones won't starve themselves to death, so at least we can always rely on that, right?! HA! :-) My daughter has to have something in her hands in order for me to be able to successfully feed her. She's 16 months old and hasn't mastered self-feeding with spoons and forks but she'll eat anything she can use her fingers with. I'm finding she's pretty much done with the jarred baby foods. I've been feeding her bananas, grapes, she loves deli ham (I tear it up into pieces and put it on her tray or in a bowl for her to pick up herself), she loves the Kraft Fat Free cheese slices torn up like the ham, and she eats plain pasta like macaroni or penne. Since introducing her to cheerios, the girl is done with goldfish! And she likes baked sweet potatoes cut up into slices that she can feed herself, not so much when they're mashed. And boiled carrots.

Good luck!!!




answers from Dallas on

Very common and very normal I think. Try and be patient. :) A friend of mine had her son in OT for eating. They told her it can take up to 30 times before a toddler will actually try a new food that's introduced to them. They're stubborn as mulse so try not to pressure him or punish him when he doesn't eat a food either. I know it's hard, but he may eventually turn a corner. My ds hated goldfish, cheese and mac & cheese for the longest time and then, only when my ILs gave mac & cheese to him, did he actually eat it. Now he loves it along with the other foods. My ds also refuses to eat the pureed type foods.

Another tactic (that may not work until he's a little older) is to tell him that broccoli are "trees", spaghetti are "snakes", etc. just something to make it more imaginative. My ds falls for that. I had another mom tell me that her dd wouldn't touch broccoli at first unless she put pink sprinkles on it. Hey, it worked! My point is you may need to think outside the box (which you probably already new). He might be one of those kids who is more interested if his food looks like a car, person, etc. We do english muffins with pasta sauce, cheese and veggies to look like a face.



answers from Dallas on

Hi J., Gerber Graduates makes some great ideas for toddlers. They have dried corn, which sounds really weird, but my daughter seems to love it. They also make carrot&chicken ravioli, and spinach ravioli which comes in a little microwavable bowl, as well as Mashers-mashed potatoes with broccoli and cheese. My daughter just loves all of these and you can buy them anywhere. They are already cooked so they can eat them fast or you can microwave for 30 seconds...Good luck, L. F.



answers from Dallas on

My 14 mo old loves Yobaby yoghurt, rasberries & mandarin oranges (canned in pear juice), cheerios & quisedillas. Have you tried french toast? You can use the SaraLee whole grain white bread & the eggs are a good source of protein. If all else fails get pediasure. Good luck.
PS: Go see www.askdrsears.com he has great healthy ideas for feeding picky toddlers...great ideas about snacks with dips.



answers from Dallas on

oh girl good luck i have the same problem really picky 18 month old eater here lol. i cant get her to eat much somedays except she loves chicken and chicken soup only shes starting to get tired of it so what do i give her next? oh man i dont know cuase not only is it hard to get her to really eat but hard to get her to gain wight as well. well at first she was gaining weight slowly but at 15 month physical she weighed 21 punds 6 ounces and at 18 month physical she is now 21 punds so she lost 6 ounces let me tell you that was fun when the doctor was already really worried bout her weight and then she lost some so i really dotn like it so does anyone have any ideas on how to make my little one gain some weight. see one of her problems is she likes to eat a little at a time several times a day instead of alot at a time a few times a day and of course this is what they telly ou to do if you want to lose weight so that i know doesnt help but i cant deny her food when shes hungary to me that dont seem right especially when she lost some weight now it wasnt much so its not that bad but i dont want her to continue to lose weight. now she isnt scrawny or anything to me shes a realyl good size and everyone says so she has that lil baby tummy and everything but then again they say her cousin is average weight and the boy is 25 puonds same age but hes chubby lol so who knows what they are talking about lol. im not worried bout her myself but i dont really like to be asked by her doctor if i feed her thats kind of embarrasing and hurtful all at the same time you know what i mean. well any ideas to help her gain weight id appreciate. thanks C.

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