Coping with a fussy eater

It’s perfectly normal for toddlers to go through a fussy food stage so here are some tips to help you out.

In Toddler

2-minutes read

At a glance

Almost all toddlers will go through a fussy phase at some point

As long as your little one is gaining weight and healthy, don’t overly worry about their eating


Be positive and praise their good eating, rather than focus on the negative

Set a good example by eating together without rushing mealtimes

As young children gain independence, they can go through periods of being a fussy eater. Try not to worry too much about what your child eats in a day, or if they don't eat everything at mealtimes. As long as they are gaining weight, and healthy, then they’re getting enough to eat, even if they don’t seem like it.

Top tips for fussy eaters

The following ideas may help you encourage your toddler to have better eating habits.

  1. Set regular mealtimes

    Young children like to have a set routine as its reassuring

  2. Serve small portions

    Large portions can be overwhelming for your toddler. You can always offer them more once they’ve finished what’s on their plate

  3. Make the food look attractive

    Cut sandwiches into fun shapes, serve fruit in ready-to-eat bite-sized pieces, or puree fruit and freeze it in ice lolly moulds

  4. Make mealtimes fun

    Let your toddler help you prepare the food, and talk to your toddler about the different colours and textures of the food they’re eating

  5. Be positive

    Offer praise whenever your toddler eats well and don’t criticise or punish when they don’t

  6. Offer new tastes

    Introduce new flavours one at a time, in small amounts

  7. Don’t rush mealtimes

    Some toddlers eat very slowly and rushing them could mean they don’t eat as much as they would like

  8. Eat together

    Try and eat meals as a family so your toddler understands that mealtimes are times you all spend together and learns from your table manners

Foods for fussy eaters

Avoid offering snacks or large drinks an hour before mealtimes, as this will reduce your child’s appetite. If you’re worried that your toddler is not getting enough nutrients in their diet, offer healthy snacks between meals:

  • Fruit
  • Carrot sticks (cook until soft for younger toddlers)
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt

Toddler meal planner

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