Picky Toddler: Tips for meal time

June 7, 2018

I am going to admit it, Noah is in a terrible, terrible food stage right now. He is very picky and will eat the same thing every day if he could. On days I make something new for him, he just won’t eat it. He might even go for 4 plus hours without eating, he just isn’t interested. We have tried so many things like smoothies, fruit, applesauce and no luck. I spoke with our pediatrician and apparently it’s very normal for his age, but it’s driving me crazy!

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Involving our picking toddler in cooking to help meal time

Involving our picking toddler in cooking to help meal time

Involving our picking toddler in cooking to help meal time

Involving our picking toddler in cooking to help meal time

I went to a Bump Club and Beyond conference a few months and heard Lara Field RD, a registered dietitian talk about toddlers and ways to get them to try new foods. She had some really good tips:

  1. Involve them in the cooking process as much as you can.
  2. Expose them to the whole food. The entire carrot instead of chopped, the broccoli head instead of it cut up and so on.
  3. Don’t ask them what they want for dinner! (SO GUILTY OF THIS). You don’t ask them what time they want to go to bed right? You know they want PB&J, so just don’t ask.
  4. Avoid all distractions (even dogs, which is very difficult to do!)

So I took what she had to say and really tried to incorporate it into our daily meal routine. Although, we hit some rough patches, he will sometimes eat what we make him. Sometimes he just doesn’t, but it just comes with the toddler territory.


After hearing the dietitians tips, I added some tools in our kitchen to incorporate into our cooking. We first bought him a step stool so he could reach the counter. It holds up to 200 pounds, so use it too. I also like the anti-skid foot-pads so it doesn’t slip around on our kitchen floor.

Another suggestion she had was to buy kid friendly cooking tools so your child can help you cook. I purchased these, Noah loves them, but he is still young so he just holds them with my supervision. They are a heavy plastic material and really can only cut lettuce, but I still take precautions.

Noah also has a toy camera like this one and he loves to take photos like mommy. I am not sure how helpful it is, but it helps him watch us while we cook. We talk about the food and even “pose” it so he can take his pictures. 🙂

Meal Ideas

Noah eats very few meals, so we have tried to get very creative with our cooking. Below are some combinations of food he likes and it’s a way to sneak in veggies.

  1. Mac n’ Cheese with zucchini
  2. Mac n’ Cheese with cauliflower rice
  3. Black beans and turkey hot dogs
  4. Rice, black beans, and diced tomatoes (we add Goya Seasoning, but not necessary)
  5. Homemade waffles made with plain hummus, topped with cinnamon. I love Kodiak Cakes!
  6. Snack: nutella with almond butter and chia seeds (you could add banana, but my son currently hates them)
  7. Eggs with plain Kefir. You can add finely diced broccoli too.
  8. Spaghetti and meatballs load of extra veggies (like spinach and mushrooms) Very, very finely chopped.
  9. Grilled cheese with spinach, tomato and avocado
  10. Chicken nuggets with mashed sweet potatoes
  11. Rice and chickpeas (you can mash them too)

I hope some of these tips and meal ideas help dinner time go a little smoother. But hang in there, you are definitely not alone with those picky toddlers!

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Until next time,


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