My Toddler Won’t Eat Anything! Coping with Picky Eaters & Fussy Kids

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So you have the world’s pickiest eater and you are worried that he or she is super skinny! Well here are a few tips that will help your picky eater:

  • Your child has managed to make it this far. Remember your idea of not eating anything and what they actually eat are completely different. So what if your child only eats 7 items. Feed them those 7 items. If your child likes macaroni and cheese, than that’s what you serve. By using those books such as “Deceptively Delicious” and the “Sneaky Chef” you can find ways to puree other ingredients into the foods they like without them knowing. You can also try mixing other veggies, meats, and fruits into items that they like. This might encourage them to try new things. Also no one says that their has to be certain foods that we eat for breakfast lunch and dinner. If your child likes Rice and Beans at every meal, than have it for breakfast! At least it’s something in their stomach!
  • Recognize your child’s patterns. My son is not a big breakfast person but eats big lunches and small dinners. So I stopped fighting him on breakfast. I make sure he gets something in his stomach (in his case he likes toast with jam or mini muffins and milk) and I make sure I pack big lunches and have healthy food options. This way food stops being a battle. When you fight about foods it causes you to have a more resistant child who will not eat. All of our bodies are different and it’s important to take a look at what your child’s body is saying.
  • Most children get some sort of junk food. Make sure your child understands that junk food is a treat. Do not serve it as meals all the time. If your child only wants corn chips for dinner, do not give in. Let her know that if and when she eats the meal chosen, then she can have the chips. If she refuses than don’t give in. Unless your child has a serious eating disorder, she will not allow herself to go hungry. When she is hungry she will eat the nutrition she needs.
  • Let your child pick the meals she wants to eat. By letting her make the choice (its okay to give options) you are letting her take control of her food. Also, let her help make it if possible! Set rules at meal time such as: No treat foods until we are done, eating in one place, or putting only the amount of food we are going to eat on our plate. This helps provide structure to meals without being over bearing. Children love and crave structure.
  • Always have a treat or reward for picky eaters. Whether it is a show or a special dessert, by having a positive reward the child looks forward to finishing their food. Avoid negative phrasings and punishment. Again, we don’t want to battle our children and make life harder. We want food to be fun! If your child doesn’t eat a meal, save the reward for the next meal. Don’t make a huge deal and throw the treat away or scream that they can’t have it and eat it yourself. By saying, “Don’t worry I am sure you will get your treat at the next meal” you are saying, I know you can do it. Positive reinforcement will help!

If you find that you have tried all of these things and your child is still eating nothing, speak with your doctor. If your child is not gaining weight she may have a more serious condition that a Nutritionist or physician can help you with, Remember hang in there, your child will not starve!

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