Any Idea's on Toddler Food

Updated on September 16, 2012
J.R. asks from Bay City, MI
11 answers

Hey - can I get some suggestions on toddler food idea's. My DS will be 3 soon and might be the pickiest eater -EVER :) These are his acceptable foods:
Breakfast: poptart or cereal or pancakes. (Used to like eggs, bacon & toast - will no longer touch them)
Lunch/Dinner: Used to consistantly eat chicken nuggets w/honey, mini corndogs or mac n cheese.
Snacks: Applesauce, yogurt, pudding, crackers, mini carrots, raisins, grapes, apples, pears.

These I know are not horrible choices, but he refuses to eat anything we eat at the table. I mean that literally. He refuses PB&J's or meats of any kind.and a lot of times refuses the corndogs/chicken nuggets - even though he might even ask for them. It's so frustrating.

Any suggestions.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I decided pretty early on that I was not a short-order cook, so I made O. meal for my family. No special dinners.
Truthfully, what you've listed isn't all that great.
Lots is high fat, empty calories. I don't see a veggie listed at all.
If mine didn't want what we had (it's not like I made squid & eel!) he could have a bowl of cereal before bed.
Soooooo....,hard line. O. dinner. Eat it or not. Cereal before bed.
As a result, I can Only name about 3 items mine WON'T eat!
He ASKS for spinach & Brussels sprouts!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is picky too, but use to eat everything. At first I took the pick your battles approach, since mostly what she was healthy. But I got fed up and finally told her that she will eat what we eat or at least try it 3 times before she says she doesn't like it. Just in the past month, she has started eating all the food she used to eat. She loves steak, probably her favorite, tilapia, all types of chicken, pork chops, spagetti, chili, sloppy joes, and much more. She still only likes corn and carrots for veggies, and bananas, applesauce and grapes for fruit, but she will eat the others if she has no other options. She eats what she is served or she doesn't eat. However, last night we had salmon. She was excited to eat pink fish. She ended up not liking it. At that point I offered her a cheese sandwich. It's always a cheese sandwich when she really doesn't like something.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

He refuses because he knows you will offer something else. So stop offering, and just keep putting rejected food in front of them. It takes 10-12 tastes to like something new.

I never made "kid" food, my kids eat what I eat, but I always make sure there is something they pasta with a new sauce, etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

As a parent educator, I can tell you that kids can be picky eaters. They go through food jags, too. It's our job to offer healthy food choices. Yet, you cannot force a child to eat.

When I talk to an audience, I tell them it usually takes 8 or so introductions of a new food before it will be liked. So, serve steamed broccoli or another veggie 8 nights in a row. Hopefully, this will work !

Whatever you make for dinner should be served. Make only 1 dinner.
There should be at least 1 thing she likes on her dinner plate. Eventually, she will understand that she can not have her way. Toddlers are good at testing !

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

As Julie said, quit offering choices or a second chance. If you WANT to offer a choice, you give him a couple of options..... if he says he wants chicken nuggets, and then when you give them to him and he decides he doesn't want them, tell him... "That's fine... you don't have to eat. However, I'm not giving you any other food until the next meal. Maybe you'll decide to eat then."

Stick with it... if he has to skip a few meals, he will learn.

He has found he is the puppetmaster... and you are the puppet... he knows which strings to pull!

My kids always ate what we ate....... I created the menu, and they ate what I fixed, or they waited until the next meal. No arguing, no cajoling, no bribing (if you eat dinner, you can have a cookie)...... I didn't give them the option of them fixing a sandwich or bowl of cereal as an alternative, also.

I rarely fixed things like chicken nuggets.... lunch was sandwiches or mac and cheese, usually... dinner was what I wanted to eat..... frequently casseroles, soups, roasts, chops, a big variety.

I have 4 very adventurous eaters... they will try just about anything, and that has continued into their adulthood.... and the youngest is going to Culinary School!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

At about 3, our son seemed to develop a taste for high starch foods - or maybe it was really the first time he could protest what we served! Keep trying to introduce a variety of foods. I recommend Jessica Seinfeld's books Deceptively Delicious and Double Delicious - not so much for the recipes but for the concept. It's all about pureeing fruits and vegetables into sauces and foods to make them healthier, and tastier! I've been adding butternut squashinto mac n cheese, and my kids don't know. Also, adding bananas, sweet potatoes or strawberries into pancakes. I hide veggies in risotto, and they don't even notice. Kraft even makes a "veggie mac" where the noodles actually are made with a cauliflower powder. Might be something to consider. My son also went on a meat strike for a while, but we added garbanzo or cannelini white beans pureed into white sauces, and he also would eat easter eggs every day for a while. I guess a blue egg is way more fun than scrambled. My thought is - even if the kids don't KNOW they're eating veggies, they're still being exposed to the flavor of veggies. Maybe down the road as teenagers, they won't protest too much when they're offered an actual piece of broccoli.
As much as possible, I don't offer a special meal vs. what we're eating. I offer enough varienty that they can pick something from the table they like. If they don't like what we're having, they are welcome to eat a banana, string cheese, yogurt... but only a fairly healthy alternative. I don't even buy things that I don't want them to eat - no corn dogs or chicken nuggets in our home... it's a special treat if we eat out. They're not going to let themselves go hungry - even if they don't eat the meal I prepared, they only have acceptable alternatives.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

A 3yo should be eating most of the same foods the family eats. At meal time offer him whatever you're eating. His tastes are changing during this stage so what he liked last week, he may want this week. Many toddlers do not like meat, or they don't care for the texture.

The important thing to remember is to offer a variety of healthy foods and to balance his diet.

Some ideas...
cereals - any without a lot of sugar, they're packed with minerals and vitamins
pasta - just plain with maybe a little butter
dried beans (baked, black) - my daughter loved blacked beans
soup - (homemade)

Remember, he will not starve himself. If he doesn't eat at meal time, make him wait until the next snack or meal time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

As many Americans (and this starts with childhood diet), your son is addicted to sugar. Until you break his sugar addiction you will not get far with anything nutritious you offer. Try stripping your kitchen of refined sugars and processed foods and replacing with fresh seasonal fruits and produce. Your entire family will benefit when you make the high nutrition conversions by understanding the empty nutrition of processed sugary foods.

Then simply offer your son the same unrefined sugar, unprocessed, healthy seasonal foods the family is eating. He may go a few days without much food and instead will demand sugary drinks (your kitchen should have none of these). Almond milk, vanilla flavored, is one possible option to offer. Don't worry, he won't starve and offer bits of protein which will greatly help quench his desire for sugar. Replace his refined sugar addiction with proteins. It takes about a week to get through the sugar addiction cravings. Remember, absolutely no soda pop and only small quanities of fruit juices. No food or drink that makes his blood sugar level spike. Be aware, even fast food hamburger buns are filled with sugar. So, read up online and modify your home kitchen. If the bad stuff is not in your kitchen you cannot possibly give bad stuff to your family. Your entire family will benefit and you will be amazed at how much better all of you feel.

Refined sugar is a drug, break the addiction and change your life.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

IF you absolutely can't get him to eat anything else, you can try to 'healthy' up the foods he is eating...

finely grated zucchini and carrots are easy to hide in pancakes... and you can toss in quite a bit of fruit too.

You can make baked chicken nuggets, with whole-grain breading. You can either chop whole chicken breasts into the right shape, or you can grind the breasts together with veggies, (google recipes.) mold into shapes, then bread and bake.

as for trying new things... Maybe give him ONE or two of his choice, along with whatever you are eating. Enough to whet his appetite, but not nearly enough to fill him up. (like, two tiny pancakes, or one chicken nugget...)

He can eat those, but he doesn't get any more until he finishes his other food too.



answers from Atlanta on

My 2 yr old is the exact same way! The only thing he will eat is meat. He dont eat pasta, bread and will not even touch a vegetable. I donot cook 2 meals though. Most of the time he dont eat dinner at all. I just make sure he have alot of healthy snacks throughout the day. Some are not so healthy. I also give him the FLINSTONES FIRST vitamin. And I trick him into eating vegetables by making a vegetable/fruit drink. I combine spinach, carrots, appple jusice , orange juice, freshfruit and a tablespoon of sugar to sweeten it up. He wont drink mik! I get him to drink it by adding some of the hershey's strawberry syrup. Or sometimes make a milk shake. I used to worry because when I switched him over to whole milk and table food, he lost alot of weight. e was the chubboest baby and now he's a slim toddler. As long as he is healthy, dont worry. Doctor said by age 3 his eating habits will change.


answers from San Francisco on

If he refuses to eat that's okay. He's not going to starve. Offer the meal and some healthy options. If he doesn't want the dinner you made give him some milk, apple slices, carrots, cheese stick and whole wheat crackers, or something similar. You don't need to make a separate meal.
Stop buying the pop tarts, nuggets, corn dogs and mac and cheese. So what if that's what he wants? You're the mom, you decide what the family eats. He'll get used to it eventually.

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