How Much Should My 20 Month Old Be Eating?

Updated on July 30, 2007
J.M. asks from Irwin, PA
6 answers

Today my son didn't eat dinner, there are other days where he also skips a meal. It worries me when he just refuses to eat. Sometimes he doesn't even try anything, as soon as I hand him his meal, he hands it back to me. Is he just being picky or is he truly not hungry? He will sometimes ask for food, but normally it is just pretzels or snack crackers. I don't think I give him too much for him to not want to eat anything else, I mean there are days I won't give him any because I'm trying to get him to eat a real meal. Should I be concerned about him not eating a meal? I normally don't offer him another choice for dinner or whatever, but should I if he won't eat what I'm having?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I've always been really strict about my kids eating the foods I offer them. I don't force them to eat if they're not hungry, and they know their hunger best, but I don't let them eat something else if they just don't want what I cooked. Just keep offering whatever you make. If he isn't hungry then don't force him but if he is hungry later then offer him the plate he did not want before. Also, I see a huge difference in my kids' appetites at dinner if they don't have an afternoon snack.



answers from Pittsburgh on

There are days when my 3 year old will eat me out of house and home and other days where he wants nothing to do with food. Think of it this way, they will never let themselves starve. Studies have been done that show that over an extended period of time, their nutrition does balance out. I wouldn't worry at all unless he starts losing weight or seems sick in some other way.Just keeping offering the food to him and let him decide if he wants to eat. One thing I do with my son on picky, snaking days is to offer him choices for snacks. If he wants something I don't think he has I'll say, "No, we can't have(blank) right now, but how about a cheese stick or a banana." That way he is still eating and I am giving him better choices.




answers from Pittsburgh on

i remember reading somewhere that toddlers usually eat only one good meal a day. the other two are a so-so meal and a not very good, if anything at all, meal. i wouldn't worry a whole lot, as long as when he does eat, he isn't eating all sugary stuff, and is getting veggies or fruits, starches, and protein. my son will be 4 in september, and he still has days when he hardly eats anything, then he'll go for 3 straight days and eat more than i do.

hope that helped!



answers from Pittsburgh on

It could be either picky eating or he could not be hungry. I have found the eating habits of toddlers to be very unpredicatable and always changing.

Our pediatrician and those of friends and family all say the same thing - he will eat when he is hungry. They also suggest not making a big issue about it and when he does eat not forcing him to clean his plate but rather stop when he is full.

My oldest just turned 3 and there are plenty of days when he skips a meal. My 2 year old is the same. I make them sit at the table with us and offer them food. I try to make sure there is something on the table they like to try to entice them to eat. I don't make them eat everything, however, if they eat only a couple bites they aren't allowed dessert. I try not to give them amything to drink for 30 minutes before a meal. I've noticed they can fill up fast on liquids making them not want to eat.

My sil puts her daughters' plates in the fridge and offers it to them when they tell her later they are hungry. Her rule is you can't eat anything until you eat your dinner.

My kids are also big on crackers and pretzels and chips. Sometimes, when they ask for them, I tell them it is time for fruit or yogurt instead. Sometimes I go as far as to tell them we are out of the item they want. Good luck!



answers from Reading on

Some children are just not ready to eat three meals a day like we do. They need to snack and that is how they get their fill. I would still try to get him to sit with you and try the three meals with snacks in between but he will eat what he wants and if he is hungry after dinner give him back his dinner plate and maybe a little something else he likes more. He might be more willing to eat it if he is really hungry. Even at 5 my kids do not want three true meals a day. Breakfast is more like an hour long snack time, some fruit, some dry cereal cup of milk and they just eat it when they please. Lunch is legit and dinner can be a little trying to get them to sit but they do eat it just takes soem patience.

Good luck


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is the same and it dosen't worry me just bc I have seen a lot of other kids go through this at the same age. My daughter that is 1 eats more than my son that will be 3 in Sept. He does eat when he needs to and he will eat heatlthy. I would be more concerned if he weren't eating healthy. You can try to save his meal until hes ready, that way it won't go to waste. Or you can try to offer A, B, or C making sure they are all healthy choices. Also he will feel empowered while you will know hes made a healthy decision.

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