Our Top Tips For Getting Reluctant Toddlers To Eat

As regular readers will know food is not something that goes down well in our house. So getting reluctant toddlers to eat is something we’ve had more than our fair share of.

Whilst things have undoubtably improved, given a choice most days Number Two would still choose not to eat. So to get the calories in we’ve had to be creative with our techniques.

Although on the (rare) good days we do meals in a high chair sat at the table, these are a few of the things we try on the (mostly) tricky days:

Eating Outside In The High Chair (with full view of the road)

Number Two loves birds and cars, so will tolerate eating a little more if he’s enjoying seeing things he loves.

Roaming

Number Two definitely eats more when he’s walking around the house. There is less pressure, and he’s much happier to take one bite at a time than be faced with a whole plate of food in front of him.

Stealing Mummy’s Food

Like most young children, he always thinks what’s on my plate is more interesting. Putting a little of his food at the side of my plate so he thinks it’s his, usually makes it a little more appealing.

A Tiny Taste

Number Two is extremely wary of new foods, but if we can get him to taste a minuscule amount by wiping it on his lips, he can sometimes be tempted to eat a little more.

Big Sister Power

Number Two worships his big sister, and if she feeds him something will often try it, even if he won’t eat it for us. She is definitely our secret weapon.

Pack In The Flavour

Bizarrely Number Two much prefers very strong flavours to more bland foods. He always surprises us by eating things that are spicy or contain lots of herbs. The more Flavour we can get into a dish, the more likely he is to eat it.

Out And About

If he is in a cafe, in a supermarket trolley or just riding round town in his pram Number Two eats far better than he does at home. We have often joked that we really should just push him round town every meal time. Life would certainly be much less stressful if we did so.

Make The Most Of Favourites

Some weeks Number Two decides he loves one particular food. This week it’s sweetcorn. Whilst the going is good I make the most of feeding him whatever it is he likes, safe in the knowledge that next week it will be something totally different.

Ditch The Guilt

For a long time I used to worry if I didn’t present Number Two with a balanced plate of food. Now I’m much more relaxed. He will eat foods from all of the food groups (except of course dairy which he isn’t allowed), just not necessarily on the same plate at the same time.

The Distraction Of Play

Popping food in Number Two’s mouth when he is playing is one of our frequent techniques. If his hands and brain are busy, he will often accept small amounts of foods that he wouldn’t otherwise east.

We’d love to know what has worked for you when getting reluctant toddlers to eat? New tips and tricks are very, very welcome in our house!

August 10, 2017

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46 Comments

  1. Reply

    Robbie Cheadle

    August 9, 2017

    A great post. Luckily, I never had a problem with my boys eating but my sister did. Her oldest boy is now 9 years old and he still doesn’t like eating.

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 9, 2017

      Thank you. Bless her, that must be very hard x

  2. Reply

    five little doves

    August 9, 2017

    Great tips! Sharing off my plate was the best way to get mine to eat. They never wanted to eat their own meal but would polish off half of mine!

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 10, 2017

      Yes, mummy’s dinner is definitely more popular than his x

  3. Reply

    Ana De- Jesus

    August 9, 2017

    The idea of allowing him to roam is something my foster mum did with my foster sister who also only eats certain foods x

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 10, 2017

      That’s reassuring to know others have done the same x

  4. Reply

    Jenni

    August 9, 2017

    These are great tips, when my son doesn’t want to eat, I try not to make an issue out of it. I’m not sure if that’s the right thing or not but scared of making an issue of food. Sometimes he eats loads and then other times he doesn’t want anything

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 10, 2017

      I think that that is exactly the right thing to do x

  5. Reply

    Jazmin Williams

    August 9, 2017

    Some great tips here! I’m glad you’ve found some techniques to help Number Two 🙂 x

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 10, 2017

      Thanks so much x

  6. Reply

    Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes

    August 10, 2017

    Fab tips! Eating from mummy’s plate, even when it’s the same food, is definitely a trick I’ve used 🙂

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 10, 2017

      Yes, it always seems to taste different when it’s from mummy’s plate x

  7. Reply

    Rhian Westbury

    August 10, 2017

    Distracting kids can work so well, I know thats what a lot of my friends with kids do x

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 10, 2017

      Totally agree, that definitely works well for us x

  8. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    August 10, 2017

    These are some great tips! I know the roaming one works well as my parents in law used to have to do it with my partner – he was much more likely to eat if he could come and go rather than sitting up at a table or in a highchair

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 10, 2017

      Yes, that’s definitely one of our more successful ones x

  9. Reply

    melissa major

    August 10, 2017

    These are some very helpful tips, we just made ours smaller versions of our meals and it worked very well for us

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      Yes we definitely find it helps when he eats the same food as us x

  10. Reply

    Jemma

    August 10, 2017

    It’s so hard to break through the fussy eating stage. I think persistence is key and getting inventive with food.

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      Yes that is definitely really important x

  11. Reply

    Stephanie Merry

    August 10, 2017

    My nephew is just like this, so I’ll have to share this with my sister in law – thanks for sharing x

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      I hope she finds it helpful x

  12. Reply

    The London Mum

    August 10, 2017

    We’ve been lucky that our son hasn’t been difficult to feed, but my sister REALLY struggles with her son. It’s literally impossible, so I’ll send this to her because she wants and needs all the tips in the world!

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      Bless her. It really is so hard when they won’t eat x

  13. Reply

    Lynne Harper

    August 10, 2017

    What a great post. My twins have been awful eaters since they were born and 4 years on things haven’t improved much. I’m going to try some of these and see how we go x

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      Bless you, that must be hard. Good luck!

  14. Reply

    Jen

    August 10, 2017

    I found that our wee one was great when he was little, ate everything. The toddler years were successful, and he wasn’t too fussy. It is now, that we have reached five, with attitude that we have issues. That is another chapter entirely. I quite agree with the advise you give, less rules, more give and take. Making food more of an enjoyment, rather than a chore was always the key thing. The idea of sharing with others was always a good thing. If Mum or Dad eat it, it must be good. Worked with quite a few things.

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      Fingers crossed things will turn around soon for you. My daughter was very fussy at that age but now at nine will eat virtually anything x

  15. Reply

    Journa Ramirez

    August 10, 2017

    I agree with the big sister power! It’s really effective and I hope big sisters will still be powerful when my baby boy’s going to be a toddler already. Thanks for these tips!

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      I have a feeling they will x

  16. Reply

    Nichola - Globalmouse

    August 10, 2017

    Great tips! I definitely find anything involving distraction is useful!

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      Us too x

  17. Reply

    Sarah Ann

    August 10, 2017

    Loved the Tiny Taste tip, it’s something I would never have thought of and a great way to introduce new foods.

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      It can definitely help x

  18. Reply

    Baby Isabella

    August 10, 2017

    Great tips! We also find that some kids like the look of bright and colourful foods. They eat with their eyes first kinda thing s

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 11, 2017

      I think we definitely need to work on that tip x

  19. Reply

    Agata

    August 11, 2017

    Making food fun works wonder… carrot shaped as star for example taste so much better than a round one 🙂

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 12, 2017

      I really love that idea! X

  20. Reply

    Jenni

    August 11, 2017

    Some great tips here and they definately work! Especially the letting your child eat your food! Whatever your eating always seems so much more appealing over their own food. Even if it’s exactly the same!

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 12, 2017

      Thank you, it really does make a difference doesn’t it? X

  21. Reply

    Kacie Morgan

    August 11, 2017

    My mum used to make faces and pictures on the plate using food, which worked well on me!

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 12, 2017

      That is such a great tip x

  22. Reply

    Ashleigh

    August 11, 2017

    My friend is struggling to get her almost 3 year old to eat vegetables. I’ll pass this on!

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 12, 2017

      I hope it helps x

  23. Reply

    Louise Smith

    August 12, 2017

    These are all fab tips to get toddlers to eat. My youngest likes ‘stealing’ food from his big sister, so at meal times I put the majority of his dinner on the side of her plate. He then pinches it, thinking he’s eating her food, and eats more than he usually would in the process!

    Louise x

    • Reply

      Mummy Times Two

      August 12, 2017

      That’s a great idea. We’ll have to try that one x

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