My 3 year old refuses to eat: Advice?

What do I do if my three-year-old refuses to eat? It doesn’t matter what I make. Even meals I’ve made him before, and he liked. It is a fight every meal. I’ve given up; he’d rather go to sleep than eat.


Is there any food he would eat? Start feeding him that. He will eventually eat, unless there is a medical problem he won’t allow himself to starve. Also try to give him a choice. Like hey do you want Mac n cheese or do you want chicken nuggets!

1 Like

Don’t force the food. Give him options. Look into feeding therapy.

The kids protein shake is a great way to still get him some protein and nutrients, there’s a few different kinds. The picky phase is completely normal. They WILL eventually eat. Just keep trying different foods in small amounts to see if anything takes, then go with it.

Try to put either one of his favorites or a familiar food with the new meal. If he starts eating the familiar food, he’s more likely to try the new food.

He will grow out of that. He won’t starve himself I promise.


My 5 yr old is same way. We tried the shakes for 2 years. We just let her eat small portions and let her body decide when she is hungry

What has work for us is having a little treat or juice in the side. Whenever he takes a bite of food he gets a little of juice or treat.

Does he have any sensory issues

1 Like

My son’s starting the picky stage, he’s 1 and a half and teething too
If he doesn’t eat, I’ll make him a peanut butter sandwich with a glass of milk, his doctor said as long as he eats something he’ll be ok

Out of all of them this has lower sugar and no HFCS.
Cut out sugary snacks, they won’t starve.
My youngest had me jumping thru hoops. He told me he was the year of the snake and only had to eat every few days (he was 4). Some days it was just plain rice. Or just wanted Opakapaka (Pink snapper Hawaii) eye balls. 18.00 bucks an eyeball.
What really helped is he started cooking with me when he was 4 years old. Changed everything. He’s still kind of picky at 32 but he’s a great chef.
They won’t starve. If he likes to pick, graze then make sure it’s not junk food he’s grazing on. We didn’t drink milk.

Most kids go through that phase. He won’t starve himself.
You could check with a Dr & make sure there is no medical reason he won’t eat.
If he’s fine, don’t force him. Leave it out & let him eat when hungry.
I’m grown with kids & still eat small amounts through the day. Like, a Value Meal is 2 meals for me. Lol So, let him kinda find his rhythm. It’ll be ok momma. :green_heart:

1 Like

I have one in my home daycare. Its aweful. He would rather nap than eat. Its kid friendly food everyone else eats fine. Some days he eats others just fruit and milk… but eats snacks fine… i think some is just spoiled. Some might be sensory. But my rule 1 bite of everything

Is he drinking too much

My daughter’s doctor told me to let her snack on what she wanted… that they go through the phase. That if it doesn’t get better, take her to her pediatrician.

My youngest is going through this too. I have pediasure shakes on hand just in case prescribed from his dr. But i offer him the same things we all eat and he picks and chooses what he will eat

I ask my 3 year old what she wants to eat or give her 3 choices.

All you can do is offer him food. He will eat when he wants to he is not going to starve himself.

Toddlers slow down on growth and don’t need to eat as much like when they were babies. So when he is hungry he will eat. But of course if it’s up for concern like if he isn’t growing or is loosing weight. My niece is the same way. She is texture kid and is sooo picky. But she literally lives off yogurt and she is doing just fine lol I wish kids came with handbooks

My son didn’t want to eat and all he wanted to so is sleep… brought him to the doctore and his iron was very low… i would go see a doctor

He will eat when he gets hungry,

1 Like

My son just turned 3 and he has been doing the same things for a couple weeks now. It’s a fight everytime it’s time to eat.

Let him help you cook. Worked for me.

Try giving him PediaSure


He won’t starve himself. I’ve read that toddlers especially sometimes go through periods where they just don’t need to eat as much and forcing can cause unhealthy habits where they eat when they aren’t hungry.

If it’s more about the food itself, I don’t make new meals for my toddler but if she doesn’t want what I made, I’ll ask if she wants a piece of cheese or some blueberries or whatever. Sometimes we also have boiled eggs in the fridge and she will often eat that. My daughter will usually eat at least something, and I’m okay with her eating something other than dinner, I’m just not going to spend my life in the kitchen or give the expectation that a whole new meal will be made if the kids don’t like it. They can have leftovers or can just graze from food in the fridge.

But we don’t have junk food instead of real food, so if she refuses dinner she can’t have fruit snacks or chips, but she could have fruit or cheese.

He’ll eat when he’s hungry. He won’t starve himself. Just keep offering him food. For snacks give fruits & veggies. Not goodies. Try not to stress about it momma. Make sure he stays hydrated.


He will eat when he is hungary. Make sure he drinks. And no junk food.

Make sure he is having bowel moved. He could be constipated. If all good, give him a daily vitamin. Sometimes it’s just a stage they go thru.

Keep offering. He will eat when he is hungry.


Grab some Ensure meal replacement drinks, a multivitamin, and whatever she will eat even if its cookies and cheetos lol. It’s most likely a phase as will pass…then come back lol
My 2.5 yo goes thru phases where for a few weeks, he might drink less and eat more or vice versa.
He takes a liquid multivitamin now and hes healthy.

If yours stops eating AND drinking, then I’d worry. Make sure hes had a BM recently before you write it off completely. Hope this helps!

My daughter is the same way I just gave up and let her eat when she’s hungry. She is 4 years old and I thought it was just a faze at 3 but she’s still doing it

That’s my 4 yr old he has been doing that since he was 3. Sometimes he wont eat and just drink chocolate milk during a growth spurts sometimes we can only get him to eat is junk food.

Feed them when they are hungry

1 Like

I’m going through the same thing with my 3 yr old right now! It’s only at dinner time too :disappointed:

If he’s drinking too much juice or milk he could be filling up on that

If he is filling up on drink he is to full to eat.

Drink water only, feed whenever hungry and make tea earlier? If he just wants to sleep you are obviously feeding him too late

My boy hardly eats dinner be lucky if he fishes any meal

I just give my boy little bits of food different things and leave him eat what he wants … don’t pressure him

Have you had his tonsils checked? My 4yo was a good eater as a toddler but the list of things he will eat has progressively gotten smaller and smaller…and now hardly eats anything. Had him to the ENT and his tonsils are almost touching. Is having surgery next week and am told his eating habits should greatly improve.


My daughter was the same way. Try smoothies/shakes

Try getting them a couple hours of exercise outside play I found my kid was hungrier if he was more active and ate less the more sedentary he was


That age (3-4) was the grazing age for us. They don’t usually eat a whole meal, they’ll pick throughout the day. I used to leave a little snack tray out. Had 6 compartments I’d add some fruits and veggies and a couple little snacks. They still sat with us at dinner and maybe had a couple bites and was done.


It’s just a phase. It’ll pass. Just offer it and if he don’t want it, try again later.

Put small snacks out and leave him to it to get them ie small cubes cheese eggs sliced crackers tiny sandwiches banana crisps and leave it to him x

A child will in fact starve themselves
Don’t force the issue, maybe speak to the health visitor for advice but in the mean time a vitamin supplement may help X

I went through that same thing with my oldest kid. When I asked his pediatrician about it he told me to make sure that my son stayed hydrated but to NOT try to force my son to eat. He said that when he gets hungry, he will eat.
And he was right!

1 Like

Let him refuse.
Offer pediasure.
Lots of water and even pedialyte for hydration.
In the meantime, get him into the kitchen with you.
Have him help you to cook.
Once you’re able to spark interest it’ll get better.

Toddlers go through phases of this. You can’t make a child eat. Leave the food out for him, and when he is ready he will eat. Better that than an unhealthy relationship with food

You need to de-worm him


Don’t make mealtime an issue. This can cause major eating disordered thinking later on.Toddlers typically get enough to eat. Either little snacks or liquid. Remember their belly is as big as their fist small- they eat when hungry…Unless you have to do special mealtime things per a doctor your kid will be fine. If you are worried about nutrients you can try Pediasure or ask doctor about OTC vitamins. All kids do this it’s normal.

Try smaller snack portions throughout the day instead of 3 or 4 big meals try smoothies and shakes, pediasure helps a lot. Even have him/her pick out the snacks have them help prep it. it gets them more interested in it. If youre concerned about them losing weight talk to your pediatrician as long as your child is drinking plenty of fluids like water and staying hydrated then it’s nit to much ti worry unless they are losing weight my son went through this fast bad as well to the point he was losing weight

He’ll eat when he’s hungry. It’s that simple. Nobody will starve themselves. Give him stuff to drink like pedisure pedilalyte etc n give him snacks you know he’ll eat

Get him checked make sure there is nothing medically wrong. If all is ok, give him pediasure.

Smoothies are a massive help makes sure there getting the things they need without realising they are xx