My One Year Old Seems to Be a Very Picky Eater???

Updated on August 12, 2008
H.C. asks from Lincoln, NE
12 answers

I cannot ever figure out what to give my son to eat. He was such a good eater when he just had baby food, now that I am trying to switch to table foods he is having a very hard time. I want to make sure he is eating enough and getting enough healthy food. Somedays he will love things like carrots, bannanas, hot dogs and then the next day he will spit all food that you have to chew out, I am not sure what is going on? It is constantly changing on what he wants on a daily basis, am I doing something wrong?

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone who responded, I was so happy to see all the responses. It made me feel better that I am not doing anything wrong. I will try all the ideas. I did not even think about the teeth (the molars), so thanks I appreciate it!

More Answers


answers from Minneapolis on

HE's not picky, its totally normal. GIve him a plate of food and let him choose what to eat. He won't starve himself, and his body knows what it needs. Just make sure the food you are serving him is healthy, and a variety (fruit, veggie, meat, and grain at each meal) and he'll be fine. Don't stress about it, and don't make him a bunc hof different things or you will breed a picky eater and you'll soon be a short order cook. IMO, picky eaters are made, not born.



answers from Wausau on

Nope, you're doing nothing wrong. Just keep offering a variety of foods at each meal and throughout the day. I was once advised by a dietician to consider a child's diet from the viewpoint of one week, rather than one day or meal. As long as the nutrients are there over the course of a week, try not to worry.



answers from Minneapolis on

You may want to talk to your doctor about this. By age 1, he should be doing pretty well with table food textures. I am an occupational therapist and work with children with feeding issues. Sometimes children have some sensory problems or have some oral motor issues interfering with ability to transition to foods with more textures requiring more skill.

If warranted by your doctor, he can refer you for an evaluation by a Speech therapist or an Occupational therapist trained in feeding skills.

My 3 year old is quite a picky eater, but my 1 year old twins (14 months) are doing quite well on regular table foods.

L. Michaud
Registered Occupational Therapist
(and mom of a 3 yr old and 1 yr old twins)



answers from Minneapolis on

He sounds absolutely normal to me. My pediatrician always assured me that babies are not really capable of over or under-eating. All you need to do is offer healthy food choices and let them decide how much they want to eat.

My oldest son ate every thing you put in front of him (he thought brocolli was a treat) and his is as skinny as a rail. My youngest was more like your son. One day he would be bananas about bananas and the next day he'd just mash them up and chuck them on the floor. Despite his toddler pickiness, he is chubby and dimpled.



answers from Milwaukee on

I read your request and it could have been about my daughter! She ate any kind of baby food, but now is hit or miss on "real" food. She is 15-months old. One thing she LOVES is yogurt. She likes it so much, I will even put other mushy food in an used (but clean) yogurt cup - she is more likely to eat stuff out of her yogurt cups. I will give her mushed-up bananas, apple sauce mixed with cottage cheese, mashed potatoes. I will still give her Stage 3 baby food some days if she is being really picky, just to make sure she is getting a good variety of food - of course I put it in a yougurt cup :)

She is also more likely to try things that we are eating - that is how she started eating rice, Lo Mein noodles, mandarin oranges, corn, peas, etc. If I put the food on her tray, she has no interest, but if we give it to her off of our plate, it is the best thing ever! I just gradually add the new stuff to her tray...some days she will eat it, other days it is "no, no, no" (her favorite word!)

Like others have said, just keep trying a variety of healthy foods each meal, trying to get a good mix of veggies, fruit, protein, and grains (cheerios, Gerber veggie crackers, Quaker Oatmeal squares are all big hits) Also, I find that my daughter has no interest in plates or bowls for finger food - I just put the food right on her high chair tray (other than the stuff I put in her yougurt cup, of course).

Good luck - it sounds like it is a pretty normal stage!



answers from Minneapolis on

You aren't doing anything wrong. He is becoming independent and starting to make his own decisions. Just keep offering him a variety of foods. He will eventually eat something. There is not a child in the world who will let themselves starve.

Things that may help. *Limit liquids throughout the day to no more than 16oz of milk and 4 oz of juice. Your child's tummy is still small and liquids will fill it quickly. *Serve meals and snacks on a schedule (about 2-3 hours apart). If you let him eat throughout the day he will never be hungry enough to eat a meal. *Sit at the table with him and eat the same foods. He learns by watching you, so set a good example. *Stay calm and keep meal time happy. If you get frustrated so will he.



answers from Green Bay on

Heh. I can't figure out what to give my son and he's only 6 months old! Typical lunch time question "Well you liked the carrots|beans|peas|squash yesterday!? Well here, have a pancake then."

Seriously, it's not you - it's just your son figuring some things out. He will eat enough, don't worry about that. Even if he barely eats one day he'll make up for it. Kids are resilient that way.

I know they claim that you need to start worrying about "healthy eating" even as early as 6-9 months but really, the first few years you're lucky if they eat regularly at all in the first place, and their tastes are changing rapidly so even if he likes carrots now, he might not by the time he's 3 or 4. Until they can firmly understand the relationship between actions and consequences it's really difficult to force eating habits on them.

Don't sweat it. Could he be cutting his molars? If so, that could be a reason why he's on|off about eating. Some days it might bother him more than others.




answers from Minneapolis on

Join the club! I think it's their job to make things difficult. It's a constant game of hit-or-miss with my 19-month-old. Since he is still not super verbal, it's tricky. It doesn't matter how hungry he is- he only eats what he wants at that very moment, and nothing else.
My little guy likes a lot of variety and new tastes. We usually eat cereal for breakfast and he eats from our bowls (he always wants what we have more than what we put in front of him).
Lunch, for both boys, is often a smorgasbord of fruit, some kind of protein (lunch meat, tuna, beans, tofu, turkey hot dog), cheese (he loves cut-up string cheese), and some form of grains (bread, pasta, crackers, dry cereal, or tortilla pieces).
For dinner, I usually give him a little bit of what we're eating and then reheat a few leftovers so he has choices and I don't have to play short-order cook. Tonight, I prepared all-natural chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and mixed veggies, and then reheated leftover tuna noodles with peas, pork loin, and green beans. My whole family is happy with the variety, even the pickiest eater gets enough to eat, and very few things have to get tossed because they sat in the fridge too long.
If I am really concerned about him not eating enough, I'll fix oatmeal with fruit before bedtime to fill him up. He usually gobbles that up.



answers from Waterloo on

Just keep at it. I think he's just trying to figure out the whole food thing. It will come.



answers from Minneapolis on

I have the same problem with my daughter (15 months). I've noticed a lot of time her reluctance to chew shows up more on days when her molars are causing her the most pain. It's probably the same with your son. Just offer him a variety of foods at each meal and let him pick and choose what to eat. Some of Lily's favorites on days when she doesn't want to chew as much are lunch meat (in moderation), avocado cut in small chunks (she LOVES this), tomatoes, bananas. Just give your little one a variety with different textures and levels of chewing involved and he'll figure it out.



answers from Minneapolis on

Our pediatrician told us one year old's don't become picky eaters so much as their growth rate slows down they don't need as much food. In the first year baby's double their weight, but in the second year, not so much. Just something to keep in mind...



answers from Rochester on

Have you tried pizza? Our daughter who just turned 1 loves it. I put a little spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce on a piece of pita bread and then add small pieces of whatever I have left over in the fridge (ham, chicken, cooked veggies, pineapple, olives, mushrooms, etc) and cheese. Either bake it for 5 min or put it in the microwave for about 1 min (enough for the cheese to melt). I will cut it up into small pieces for my daughter but her favorite thing is just to pick the toppings off. She will sometimes sit for 20 minutes and eat and she never sits that long!

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