My child who is almost two is a VERY picky eater. I can count on two hands the things he will eat for dinner: Quesadilla, Grilled Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese, Peanut Butter Sandwich, etc . . . Does not eat any vegetables and only eats chicken sometimes. At what point do you start "forcing" them to eat what you put in front of them. My child will not even put anything new in his mouth, so frustrating! Any advice out there? I welcome anything!!

asked 25 Sep '09, 22:09

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

I feel your pain! Same story for my boys - impossible to get them to try something new.

(25 Sep '09, 23:06) Antony

What are your eating habits? What you do normally cook or prepare at home?

(26 Sep '09, 10:28) Emi

I cook most nights and we try to eat on time so that he can eat with us. We cook basic meals such as meat/potatoes/vegetables, spaghetti, casseroles, etc. We almost always offer him our food first.

(27 Sep '09, 06:53) Melissa 1

I was an EXTREMELY picky eater for most of my childhood. Now I'm not picky, I just have very refined taste. 8-)

(27 Sep '09, 13:46) JBunky

I was a picky eater for the first bit and then turned into a omnivore (and now as an adult my goal is to cook and eat one of everything). I would say as long as it's not a health issue (i.e. they only eat white bread and chocolate) give it some time (if it's a health issue then you need to address it ASAP).

(28 Sep '09, 02:04) kurtseifried

Look at what he's eating over a period of days to see if he's getting good nutrition. Some days my kids wouldn't eat one food group but the next day they might eat a lot of it. And they still seem to go through phases where they won't eat something for days or weeks but will they love it again. Or will eat it in one form but now another (grated cheese versus cubes of cheese).

Dipping is big in our house. Ketchup, salad dressing, even mayo (for the 7 year old), you could offer peanut butter or yogurt to dip fruit in. Partially cook the veggies and then give him a few of one kind at a time to try. You may have to offer them many days in a row before he'll try them. Make it fun by cutting the veggies or fruit into different shapes. Some kids like to eat peas or corn when they're still frozen.

Get him involved! Take him to the grocery store and show him all the different kinds of fruits and veggies. Let him pick one to bring home to try. Get him to help when your preparing meals by stirring or adding things in (close supervision of course) or even to help you set the table. Pick a story book that has a dominant food or even colour in it and then make a meal based on it. For example: "Red Is Best" - You could dress in red, go the store and pick red foods (strawberries, apples, peppers, etc), and then have a picnic or meal with all your red foods. Get creative and have fun!

And as already stated you could hide the fruits or veggies in other foods. Add grated carrot or zuchinni to muffins; puree veggies and add to spaghetti sauce, etc.

Good luck and remember this too will pass :)


answered 26 Sep '09, 11:07

MinJSD's gravatar image

accept rate: 16%

I have observed the habits of some of my other friends with children over the years with their picky kids and there seems to be one common thread amongst all picky children: the parents give them a choice.

This is hard and I think that it would be easy to say "well, some kids just have different tastes," but after experimenting with this theory on my twins I think my wife and I have hit on something that works pretty well. So well, in fact, that my two-year-olds happily eat salad for dinner and just this afternoon one of my kids stole a pickled jalapeno off of my plate and ate it.

We have a few simple rules:

  1. We involve them early. They learn all of the names of their foods. They learn to identify them at the supermarket. We plan on getting them cooking as soon as possible too.
  2. Lots of variety as early as possible. We cooked our own baby food and froze it in silicone ice cube trays... very easy. Here's a link (http://www.askdrsears.com/html/3/t032300.asp#back). I know this is a little late, but hopefully it will help someone else.
  3. No choices. Ever. Consistency is key here. They are served a meal. If they don't eat it, they don't eat. Period. They will not starve and never have. The first time you say "oh, all right... at least eat an apple" you've lost. Generally they aren't eating because they aren't hungry anyway, not because they don't like their food.
  4. Never give up on a food. Poor mood or appetite can easily be mistaken for "not liking" a food. The girls rejected green beans twice, but we ignored their complaints and served it to them again and they ate them up.
  5. Don't serve anything you wouldn't eat. I hate canned veggies and I see no reason to subject anyone to them. Cook food that tastes good. Steamed spinach tastes bad to just about everyone, but creamed spinach with a little curry is great!

Another tip that is not part of our core set of rules is they seem to be better about what they eat if they have seen the sun and have gotten some exercise. Whether it is because they are mentally ready to have a good meal or physically hungry from getting a good workout, I find that they are ready to agree to anything (including brushing teeth and going to bed!) when they've been to the park for an hour.

I love my kids and think they are definitely special, but I don't think their taste is anything different from any other kid. I just think that taste need to be cultivated properly.

Don't stress too much. They will come around eventually. You clearly take your children's health and well-being seriously enough to have asked this question and this will be the most important factor.


answered 19 Oct '09, 06:58

Anderson%20Imes's gravatar image

Anderson Imes
accept rate: 0%

edited 19 Oct '09, 07:43

+1 Such a nice answer.

(10 Dec '10, 04:46) Emi

I agree with Tammy, I think you should sneak them in. Vegetables are better from the source than from vitamins. And then maybe he'll get used to the flavor and be more open to them later on.

You could try to make it fun. My daughter is IN LOVE, yes in love, with Ranch Dressing. She will pretty much eat anything with ranch dressing on it. Although, if we're not watching she'll just stick her finger in it and try to eat as much of it as possible before we notice THEN ask for more.

I know kids who will dip all food in ketchup. Maybe you could try cheese dip if he likes that so much. Or caramel?! Cinnamon?! :) Maybe the dipping part would help the food make it to his mouth before he rejects it.


answered 26 Sep '09, 06:18

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

That's a tricky situation. I don't know if I would try and force your kid to eat food especially at that age. You may win the short term battle of getting them to try food, but really I would guess that they are just going to associate the food with bad experience. When a child doesn't want to eat something, generally, the child isn't hungry, in which case force feeding is definitely not a good routine to start, the child has had a bad experience with the food, or it doesn't look appealing.

I would probably look at doing two things.

  1. It seems your child has a predilection toward choosing foods with cheese. I would try pairing other foods with cheese to get the child to branch out. The real question would be is the child suffering from not eating what are considered healthful foods. If not, I would personally avoid trying to "hide" things in food. Really there is no gain in doing this, vitamins can supplement nutrients, so hiding vegetables in food really only soothes the parent a little, but misses what is really important and that is having the child gain an appreciation for different types of food. That being said, if you feel like doing this for the short term, it may by all means be the best route, but my guess is that ultimately you will want your toddler to like vegetables without being masked in some other food.

  2. You may want to look at what your family has on a regular basis. If it is a lot of prepared frozen food, the additives in it may not taste good to your child. One commonly accepted theory is that their taste buds are much stronger than ours, and they pick up on much more subtle flavors that parent's do. Our child is picky when it comes to store bought food. He won't eat chips ahoy or oreos, because 90% of the time we make the cookie from scratch which don't have preservatives or corn syrup. On a side note, if you don't already, if you really learn to cook well, it's something that you and your child can do together and you can pass what you know on. It's something that the current 30 something American generation has lost in my opinion, and as a culture we desperately need to get this back, not only from a health standpoint, but a societal one as well.


answered 26 Sep '09, 00:46

Kevin's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

My friend Jen recently posted at YummyMummyClub.ca about the "dessert box" she used to get her 3yo to become more open-minded when it came to trying new foods. She said,

"I told him I loved how he was so adventurous in trying new things. I explained how every time he decided to be adventurous and try a new healthy food at lunch or dinner, his dessert that day could be something from the Dessert Box. He didn’t have to try the new items, or finish them. He didn’t even have to like them. The point was just to be adventurous and try. Three bites would be enough. And if he didn’t like the new food, he could still eat a healthy dinner from the other items on his plate and choose something out of the box for dessert. We would write any of the ones he did like in his new notebook. He loved it."

I wish I had been this creative and inventive with my own PICKY kids!


answered 19 Oct '09, 03:13

YMCbuzz's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

I highly recommend the cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld, Deceptively Delicious. It has tips and recipes to hide vegetables into meals that kids typically love.

I just discovered that she also has a website http://www.deceptivelydelicious.com/site/


answered 25 Sep '09, 23:58

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%


I saw that cookbook at Costco and almost bought it, but I wanted to ask around to see if anyone had tried it. Ha! I think I'll try it out!

(26 Sep '09, 05:56) Sabrina

My daughter is still young but it I also used it to make her baby food. I also like all the tips it has to not only "hide" vegetables but just make foods fun for kids.

(26 Sep '09, 13:27) Tammy ♦♦

I do have the cookbook and just haven't gotten around to trying it. When I look at the recipes I just think to myself, "there is no way he will eat that" so then I just don't try. . . maybe I should just try it anyways!

(29 Sep '09, 07:20) Melissa 1
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Asked: 25 Sep '09, 22:09

Seen: 5,193 times

Last updated: 19 Oct '09, 07:43