My 2 1/2Yr Old Son Is a Very Picky Eater

Updated on November 01, 2007
D.F. asks from Schenectady, NY
10 answers

My 2 1/2 year old son is a very picky eater and I am getting tired of wasting all the food. All he will eat is toast with cream cheese, grilled cheese or Kraft Dinner. Does anyone have any advise on how to get him to eat other foods??
Tonite I made 3 different things and he refused them all.....usually I would break down and make something I know he would like but tonite I'm trying a different tactic - I'm not making anything and hopefully he'll be hungry enough later to eat something other than toast, grilled cheese or KD ! I have started to skip afternoon snacks. I think I've tried everything and nothing seems to work?
Any advise would be great !
Thanks !

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answers from New York on

my daughter is picky too. I always tell her to take one bite and then she can have what she likes.
It lets her know its okay to try new things.

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answers from New York on

my dd is 25 months and is a fairly picky eater, too. i heard somewhere that it takes 20 times for them to see a new food before they'll eat it! i have found this to be very very true with her. foods that we have introduce VERY often (at least once a week) that she will eat and it surprised me when she did:

-steamed broccoli
-grilled asparagus
-grilled zucchini

it took her a long time to warm up to strawberries, rasperries and bananas, too.

when she has eaten around other children, she tends to be more adventurous because she sees them eating things.

my recommendations are: keep introducing new foods. pair it with a familiar/liked food. set up lunch-date/playdates where he will eat around other children who eat more foods. it should help him to be more adventurous.

also, i 2nd the idea of mixing foods in... some people mix pureed carrots into ketchup, grated zucchini into spaghetti sauce...

DIPS are a favorite in my child's world. she dips anything in ranch, butter sauce, a1 sauce, ketchup... maybe experiment with things he could dip?

i know you said you tried everything, but hopefully one of these things will help. please let us know how it goes and if anything is helpful!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

If he eats those three things, why not just stick to those and rotate for him. Does he eat pizza? My son only eats a few things too, and he's 22 months. He's always been that way. He'll eat Spaghetti, plain rice, chicken and beef. I discovered if make things with tomato sauce, or BBQ sauce, he is more likely to eat it. I chop spinach in the tomato sauce or other things I make so he doesn't really see it.



answers from New York on

Reading your story felt like reading something I would write. My son is 2 years 4 months and likes the exact same thing as your son. Wow and the sleeping habit has been something else. We should talk and compare. Its scary how alike they are. Everyone tells me its a stage hes going through. My pediatrician warns me not to force him if hes hungry he'll eat. Email me at [email protected]

Thanks S.



answers from Jamestown on

Ophrah just did a show on this. Jessica Seinfeld has a book out called "deceptively delicious", which has some great ideas on getting your kid to eat healthy stuff. It is available on for around $15. There is a similar book also on amazon called "The sneaky chef" which is $11 and has basically the same ideas. It's worth checking out!
I feel for you, my sister's boy is 3 and is the same way.
Good luck!



answers from New York on

Feeding our kids tends to be one of the biggest challenges, the best advice i've gotten is to mix healthy things in with food he already eats. if he likes pasta, puree some veggies and mix them in the sauce, if he likes mac and cheese add some pureed squash. make homemade burgers with whatever fresh veggies you have (the meat, cheese and condiments usually hide the flavors!). bake him muffins/cupcakes with some sweet potatoes. sometimes you have to be really sneaky. i've almost made it a game to see how many healthy things i can sneak in w/out anyone noticing!
of course this is a short-term solution, you don't want them to be in college and still be mixing pureed foods into their hamburgers, but for now it might give you a little peace of mind that he's getting something good in him.



answers from Syracuse on

If he drinks a lot of milk you might want to cut back on that. It will fill his stomach too, and he won't eat anything at all. My almost 2 yr old is very picky. He will actually still eat stage 2 baby food if I give it to him, which sometimes I do just so he will get a veggie. If you haven't tried it you might give him cut up peanut butter and jam sandwiches. At least he'll be getting some protein, fruit, and grain that way. Maybe put it on whole wheat bread so it's even better for him. Good luck cause I'm right there with you!



answers from Buffalo on

A friend of mine went through this. She got fed up one day and told him that if he didn't eat what he was given then there would be no more snacks. When he didn't eat his dinner she put it in the fridge and whenever he said he was hungery she gave it back to him. It only took till lunch the next day that he actually eat the dinner from the night befor. After that she didn't really have any problems however her son a about a year older then yours at the time.



answers from Buffalo on

I read a good article in one of my magazines about creating a food journal/log for your picky eater. Every night at dinner, you offer a new food to him and if he tries it, he gets a sticker or stamp in his food journal. I guess you could create one for your husband or yourself too so you can show your son how it works during dinner. After so many stickers/stamps your little guy gets a special outing or toy.



answers from New York on

i would work with him. do the mac and cheese but add in carrots , broccoli, peas...what ever it takes..then he wont notice. maybe add tomato in on the grilled cheese. my point is disquise it...and hopefully you can get more nutrition have heard boys are very fussy.

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