One Year Old Picky Eater

Updated on July 09, 2009
J.B. asks from Bloomington, IN
11 answers

My dear daughter just turned one on June 29th and is a classic picky eater. The girl doesn't like her green veggies and barely tolerates any other food besides bread and fruit. For a while it was mind boggling that she would eat very well for the sitter but not for us at home. However we've come to the conclusion that she is distracted by all the kids at the sitter's. So at home we try to keep her mind off the food by singing or playing an Einstein’s movie in the back ground. (Yes, it's terrible, but it worked.) Part of me is really proud that my little girl is voicing her opinion. She's just telling us that she doesn't like peas, what is the harm in that? And we never force her to eat them. My question is, should we offer her something else to eat that she does like, factoring in that she will eat better when distracted. Is her little mind just not able to be distracted and protest the unlikeable food at this young age? Everything I've read says to just make the unlikable food available and the little one will come around. Which sounds great in theory, but we're going through a lot of food every evening. We're making the switch to table foods and I'm going to dust off my Deceptively Delicious cookbook this weekend to hide some veggies in some finger foods. But I'd still love some advice from other mom's of picky eaters. (MoPE's) Meal times are becoming more and more stressful.

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answers from Indianapolis on

My youngest was one of those eaters. Her pediatrician told me that as long as I could get her to eat an egg a day, she would receive the nutrients she needed (and she loved eggs). I know they used to say that eggs were high in cholesterol and bad for you, but that study was discounted several years ago. My daughter is now 32 and in great health and feeds eggs (scrambled with cheese) to her kids as often as they want - and they are thriving nicely.

Good luck.

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answers from Indianapolis on

She sounds normal! All my kids went through what you're describe around 1-2 years old. My son was the worst... there were days I had no idea how he was functioning - he'd literally go an entire day eating 5-6 bites of food! But guess what? He's 7 now and eats pretty much anything you put in front of him.

Don't cater, don't become a short-order cook. Kids will not starve themselves if they are presented with a wide variety of healthy food. Your job as parent is to prepare and present the food, it's your child's job to actually eat it. Don't start a power struggle - you won't win. No matter what you do, you can not force a child to eat (you can threaten, remove other privileges and punish but in the end, if the child chooses to accept those other things, they won't eat). Put the food on her plate, set it in front of her and turn your attention to other things. By the 1st birthday, a child should be eating whatever the rest of the family is eating - just cut into pea-size bits to make it easier, especially if she doesn't have teeth yet. We do have the 10 minute rule in our house for 1-2 year olds - they have to sit at the table for 10 minutes (trust me, that seems like a lifetime for an active toddler!). We talk about anything except food at the table. The more the food is talked about, the more they resist eating and try to get into a power struggle. When the meal is done, the plate goes away. If they didn't eat, oh well... they are hungry until the next scheduled snack/meal time.

A few tidbits... toddlers' tummies are small and they need to eat snacks between meals. Make them healthy. Don't skip them - a very hungry child is more prone to tantrums and meltdowns.

Green veggies taste bitter... just like poisonous plants. Through evolution, kids' tastebuds are very sensitive to bitter tastes -- probably to keep them from eating bad plants as they roamed through the woods.

Eventually they'll try new foods but it can sometimes take 20-30 or more times. If you hide veggies, be sure to put a piece of the veggie on the plate, too, so they can see it and maybe even eventually eat it.

A 1 year old simply needs MUCH fewer calories than a baby. Your baby tripled (or more) in size/weight the first year. A toddler only grows a few inches/pounds during a year. A serving size for a 1 year old is a tablespoon so a small pile of green beans is enough for the day. Think of the picture... write down what she eats over the course of a week -- it more than likely all balances out and she's getting what she needs.

There are days when a toddler will eat literally 4-5 bites of food. There are days when a toddler eats adult-size portions at all meals. There's no pattern... just go with the flow.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

My guess is that she is simply being a small tape recorder to what she is hearing at home and is allowed to do at home. You are the parent, she for heavens sake, is only one. Imagine her voicing her opinion now and if allowed to continue what she will be telling you she is doing or not doing at 16. It would be my guess that you or her daddy is also picky about your likes or dislikes, behaviour is learned, she wasnt born knowing how to do this for herself.

Distracting her may work for a time but will not always work and may set up for bad eating habits later, namely obesity.

This is not an 15 yr old sticking up for her self against her peers for not smoking.

You dont want it to be a fight either. Just put them on her plate, she eats or doesnt, dont make a big deal out of it. Go on.



answers from Bloomington on

my kids are both picky, but we just give them food and let them eat it if they want. sometimes two bites is dinner... and they are healthy and thriving, although i can't figure out why. i do NOT cook "for" them, since they don't like anything... they just eat what i make or not.

one thing i recommend NOT doing-- don't force it. don't start power games over food. my husband did that and we finally decided it was really not helping anyone and making them MORE picky and stubborn. so we don't force anything.

i taught my kids about the food pyramid and a balanced diet, and if they choose not to eat one thing i expect them to find something else in that food group for the day.



answers from Indianapolis on

Might want to acquire a copy of FEED ME I'M YOURS by Lansky



answers from Cincinnati on


The "Moms of Picky Eaters" are really doing your children a great disservice in indulging their very unrealistic food whims. Ever watch "Monk?" "I can't eat that. My food can't touch. It's the wrong color. Someone tall touched that one. I read that someone once had a reaction to this."

Get REAL! With the state of the economy, you all might need to start growing your own food. Or just keep letting your demanding children eat chicken nuggets and corn. Not balanced, but they'll survive. I am absolutely NOT saying force feed kids particularly child-hostile food like liver and onions. But, honestly, there really are more than three vegetables in the world! I am not advocating the ridiculous practice of forcing children to "clean their plates or they don't get dessert," either.

I know a woman who makes four separate dinners each night! Her son won't eat noodles if there is anything at all on them. Her first daughter can't have any food touch any other food on her enormous plate. Her second daughter will only eat chicken nuggets, corn, and chocolate brownies. Then, she makes a perfectly wonderful meal of meat, potatoes, carrots and peas, salad, and multi-grain bread for herself and her husband. See anything wrong with this picture? I can barely invite them to dinner because instead of asking "what date and time?" they ask "Ummm, what are you having for dinner?"

Do you eat a good variety of foods? If your child has the opportunity to eat foods, and sees you setting a good example, she'll become like you. There are times when very young children go through "food boycott" stages where, in reality, they are just not hungry. Then, they'll grow into another stage where they eat everything in sight. Repeat introductions of foods, too, because initially an unaccustomed palate may not initially register "like" for a certain flavor. Try frozen peas instead of those mushy canned ones. Or better yet, fresh organic snap peas!

Hungry children eat good food when it is put in front of them. Help stop this deplorable ultra-indulgence of fussy eaters.

Best wishes,



answers from Toledo on

J. ~ I can relate as our almost 4 y/o son has always eaten very well and more recently dinner has been a struggle. Being that he is older and is better able to communicate and understand we have done different things based on his age. Picky eater are hard but I would tell you to always offer up stuff that she doesn't like but that you guys do. At this age they want to be like mom and dad, and if she sees you guys eating something all the time she will eventually give in.

The other option is to make a game out of it. I represent a company that offers various products for children and one is geared for this specific situation. In fact I just got an email from someone that has a son that refused to sit an eat for any meal because he was too busy. She emailed me 2 days after getting this and said that her son ate every meal and it was SO much fun and no stress!! Here is the link, you can order just this and have it delivered right to you if you choose:
Best wishes and good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

my three children didn't like peas at your daughter's age either, and ALL of them like them now. Some things you have to grow into.

oh- we went through the phases of you can't have anything else to eat until you eat your peas, etc. They would be dried into hard little bullets and finally the kids would eat them and after that, they learned to eat them sooner--much tastier! NO--I'm not saying do that for a 1 year old. We also went through the phase of saving their food in the refrigerator until they were hungry again. Again- I'm not advocating that for a 1 year old.

But I will tell this funny story of our daughter who was about 3. She loved deviled eggs. She thought she didn't like egg salad. I told her she would like tastes a lot like deviled eggs. She cried and threw a fit and I decided she HAD to try just a tiny bit on the end of a spoon. Gulping and crying, she finally relented and the minute it touched her tongue she blurted out, "I LOVE IT!" It's one of her favorites ever since.

On another note, my husband and I LOVE Stouffer's spinach souffle and we share one of them ourselves, cutting it down the middle and fighting over who gets the spoon, etc., and our kids have seen us loving this dish their whole lives (and had plenty of opportunity to eat it) and none of them really like Stouffer's spinach souffle... <sigh> Oh well. More for us. :)



answers from Columbus on

Please don't make her eat something she really doesn't like. I hated Lima beans as a kid and mom always made me eat a spoonful before I could leave the table. I did everything to make them taste better to me and nothing ever worked to this day they litteraly make me gag. On the other hand I don't like peas or celery and I never liked them as a kid but I will eat them in something like a pot pie or stew so use your best judgement. I say keep them available but don't fix something else for her. It wont hurt her is she misses a vegetable every couple of days.



answers from Columbus on

One thing we've found success with is using organic frozen baby food, found at Whole Foods. They have a "Great Greens" and "Easy Greens" pack, and I mix in one of these cubes into something my one-year-old daughter already likes. I've tried to borrow these techniques with making her food as well. I mix black beans with bananas and spinach with strawberries or pears, so there's a natural sweetness to the meal. It's basically the Deceptively Delicious model, but these are the combos that have worked for me, and the Whole Foods frozen cubes are a lifesaver because they're always available and don't go bad. They also have "Toddler" foods, like fish sticks and mac-n-cheese, that have a full serving a veggies "hidden" within.

Good luck!



answers from Fort Wayne on

My daughter goes through stages like that. One day she LOVES peas, next day she hates them! I refuse to be a short order cook, so she eats what we eat and has since she was about9 mos old. If she doesn't eat what I give her, then she doesn't eat. This was advice someone on this site gave me a LONG time ago and it works! If she doesn't eat dinner, I save it and she eats it for a bedtime snack. If she doesn't eat it for snack, then it's lunch, or dinner, or whatever meal is next. I don't waste the food that way and she's learned to eat a variety of foods. There are still foods that she won't eat (green beans, lettuce, broccoli, etc) but I always put a few on her plate and have her try a little tiny bite. We're very very slowly increasing the foods she will eat. Just keep offering and keep at it. Unless you want to be a short order cook for the rest of your life, don't start now!

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