My 4 year old daughter is a very picky eater: Advice?

My daughter is 4yrs. Old and still very picky. We tried OT for her because the doctor recommended it. But it’s not working. She only eats chicken and sometimes a Lil bit of beef from pot roast. She had fish sticks, but she only eats like two pcs. She eats fruits but not veggies; the only veggies that she will take is if it’s in broccoli cheese soup. I tried to make shapes and stuff, so she shell has fun with her food, but she still very picky. She doesn’t even like pizza, hotdog, or hamburger. Please, no mean questions, just wanted some opinions from other people what do they do. Thank you.


Sometimes if they get to help coom it, they are more likely to eat it

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my 4yr old is also INSANELY picky. I try to get her to try new stuff every now and again, but don’t force it. forcing trying new foods is what usually gets kids to be picky, and less willing to try new foods in the future. as long as your child is still thriving, most peds don’t worry. all kids get picky to a degree and survive off chicken nuggets and spaghetti. if it’s to the point where your kid like starts gagging JUST because it’s a new food, then they have food therapists out there that you can ask your ped about

My daugther is picky eater too… but she is scared of me so she has no choice but to eat the food…


Is it because she really doesn’t like it or because she knows you’ll cave and give her what she wants?


My picky eater would eat veggies with ranch dressing on them, also I would stick veggies she would not like into foods she did like, for example she loved spaghetti with lots of sauce, I would chop up the veggies into super small bits and she would eat them not knowing they were there. She grew used to the tastes, you could also try smoothies with a few veggies thrown in like celery and carrots. Good luck.

Lol simple eat what’s i made or dont. More you give in the more they know and worse it gets. Lol…

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They can eat or not. My pet peeve is a picky eater.


My grandson is 8 yrs old and he is also a picky eater…don’t like fruit and veg…only eat certain foods don’t like pizza …very picky but likes chicken nuggets and chips as long as he’s eating enough …we know he’ll be fine…just like your child…maybe they’ll eat better as they get older

If she eats broccoli cheese soup, try broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce. Green bean or sweet potato fries. If she likes dips or sauces alway offer them… just makes food more fun. And don’t say anything when she wants ranch on her eggs or dips a carrot in ketchup cause at least she’s eating.
When you have dinner as a family be overly dramatic about how l good a food is that you want her to try… like this is oh soo good you can try it but mommy only made a little bit. So you can only have a few bits.

Look…my daughter was a perfect eater. Loved fruits and veggies, always tried something new, absolutely fearless. My stepdaughter? We fought at every meal, every day, for 3 years because she would only eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs. My son? I would give anything for him to even try a hot dog. All kids are different…just keep working with her, keep offering things…she’ll grow out of it.

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Feed her what she likes… Even if it’s repetitious… She won’t starve… Supplement with meal shakes if her weight slacks, it tends to be easier to get them to drink than to eat… Try the veggie and fruit pouches and Tyson makes chicken nuggets with veggies in them… She’ll eat more when she’s ready… That’s one thing you can’t force them to do without potential causing lasting damage…


Is it a texture issue? Even as an adult, there are foods I can’t eat due to texture.

Eat with her and hold up your spoon with food and tell her let’s do cheers

Just feed her what she likes! She doesn’t really need vegetables right now fruit is great all that really matters is that she eats

Mine is the opposite we can’t get her to eat meat at all. She loves fruits and fries and mac n cheese. Sometimes hotdogs very rarely and pbj. That’s about it. We try new foods weekly and she just gags or vomits it’s not texture or taste she is just very picky

It could be a texture issue or how the food is presented. If it looks a certain way it could be off putting. My son has a texture issue. I have one also and I’m 29 yrs old lol.

Have you tried food therapy??

Smoothies u can put kale all kinds of veggies and fruits

Just make sure she drinks plenty and she will eat when she’s hungry

Picky eater & I believe some texture issues. As mine has literally gagged & threw up in her lap over how the corn felt🙄. What it also comes down to is…is the child eating? Is the child maintaining a healthy weight? Yes all the food groups matter but is your child malnourished. If the answer is no then you’re good. You can feed them balanced all you want some point they eat floor food & are still smart & thriving

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Let her go hungry…n she’ll soon start eating…try not making a big deal out of trying new foods…eat together as a family…dont give in your the mum…good luck

My child is 13 and still won’t eat meat or vegis

Perdue makes chicken nuggets that have veggies hidden in them. Also look up how to hid veggies in food, might find one she will eat (like I have seen carrot shavings hidden in cake). And smoothies you can hide a lot of veggies behind the fruit flavors. You might have to hide things for now until she becomes older. It’s not uncommon to be a picky eater.

My 5yo has been picky for 3 years. Used to eat any and everything I gave him. Now he eats ab 10 different foods. I have a degree in child development and starving a kid until they eat is not good. Forcing them to eat something they don’t want, making them clean their plates, arguing ab food in general is just going to create unhealthy eaters. I don’t like every food item, I don’t expect a kid to either. We have ab 10k taste buds that get replaced every 2 weeks and children have a higher concentration of taste buds that makes them crave sweet foods and hate bitter foods. Food is 1 thing I will not fight with my kid ab. I make his meals, with his help, and give him 1 thing I know he likes, whatever else I give him he at least has to try. I let him snack on fruits and granola bars if he doesn’t eat a full meal or is still hungry and I don’t make him eat at set times. I’m not always hungry promptly at 7am or 12, he may not be either. He gets a multivitamin daily to make sure he’s getting all his nutrients and vitamins. Offer healthy food choices, she’ll eat them or she won’t but don’t argue and don’t withhold food. If she doesn’t want a full meal, give her a piece of fruit or a meal replacement shake. As long as she’s at a healthy weight, she’s fine. Kids stomachs aren’t as large as adults, some require a lot of calories, some dont.

My grandsons is a picky eater one thing that worked so far he hated green beans we planned some he helped grow them watering and pulling weeds talked him in to trying them now they’re his favorite vegetable had we let him help cook a little sometimes he will try what he helps with but still very picky and hardly eats

Try 1 “unsafe” food on their plate, they are not forced to eat it but make a big deal if they take a bite

Try different seasonings or cutting things up…

Give her the vegetables over and over but give her the stuff she likes too it wont hurt her to be hungry for hours but the key is putting it front of them over and over

Have her help make the meals. Little things, stirring, or washing the veggies. Some kids love to help and eat better when they do. Our 5 year old is picky but we just offer her food at every meal and she eats if she’s hungry. She maintains a decent weight so not too much to worry about. Both my girls love to help in the kitchen and eat better when they do.

My daughter isn’t necessarily a picky eater but she confuses “I don’t like it” with “I don’t want it” some days she loves her food others she hates even if it’s the same meal. For example, we had broccoli and cheese the other day but she knew we had cake (my birthday) and she “didn’t like it” but I picked her up after work today and she asked for broccoli and cheese for dinner :upside_down_face: it drives me nuts. I try to always have some kind of dessert or snack for after dinner and if she doesn’t eat her food or at least 3/4ths of it she can’t have dessert and that usually works. The only thing I’ve never been able to get her to eat is eggs. She wouldn’t even eat them as an infant lol :laughing:

She can be sensitive to texture, and not be picky eater. My son is extremely sensitive to texture … example he can’t eat anything with nuts the texture he can’t tolerate it.

Hugs this is normal. And will change again. And drive you nuts again. All I can say is keep offering the food even if she doesn’t like it right now

I’m 26 years old and will only eat chicken, no read meat, etc… I also highly prefer fruit to veggies. Let her eat what she’ll eat and don’t force her to eat what she doesn’t want. There’s nothing wrong with preferring certain meats over others or some veggies over others, etc…

Make spaghetti And do the sauce from scratch. Get her to help you by getting the veggies out of the fridge. Don’t forget to use heaps of tomatoes. Blend it all together till it looks like soup

When it comes to therapy, it’s a marathon…not a sprint. It takes time. Improvement will be slow, but its improvement none the less.

Some things that we’ve done (I have a 7 year old with autism and a 3 year old with spd)

-pick one meal to really work on new foods. For us its dinner.
*have your little help you. I had mine help make mashed potatoes the other day, he actually tried them and ate a few bites.
*give your little what you’re eating (you could also offer from your own plate). When you’re finished eating if they still haven’t eaten offer a healthy (ish) snack-type alternative. So for my little its apples, cashews, and pepperoni.

*Be patient.

*Anytime you’re eating something, play up what you’re eating. Especially if its something they’d normally refuse. Offer some from your plate.

*Note any similarities between taste, texture, and even color for what your little will eat and work out from there.
My little goes for heavily seasoned stuff, red foods, crunchy, and sweet.

For red stuff we’ve done…
-bell pepper (he didnt care for it)
-chili (he likes it)
-salsa (he likes it)
-taco meat (he likes it)
-beef sticks

*check out aldi snacks. They have a snack brand called simply nature. They have “doritos” made from cauliflower. “Tortilla chips” made from white beans. It’s made from butternut squash.

*mix veggies in where you can. I mix riced cauliflower into fried rice and I spiralized zucchini to mix into noodles (this helps with the oldest…youngest doesnt like pasta or rice)

We are a big carnivore household. I serve veggies because I know the kids need them but I don’t eat them because I don’t like them and just put a scoop of greens in my shake. That being said, they don’t have to eat their veggies but I’m big on them eating their meat. Buuuut my 3rd child doesn’t like any meat other than fish or chicken and GROUND beef. She won’t eat pork chops, or burgers, but beef if it’s ground. It’s lame but I tolerate it and try to plan around her pickiness.

Smoothies passed off as a treat. You can hide so so so much in them. One of my kids wouldn’t eat anything other than chicken for what seemed like forever! I don’t normally lie to my kids but something had to be done. We literally couldn’t get her to eat ANYTHING other than chicken. Nothing! So I passed my smoothie (almond milk, oats, spinach, strawberry, banana, Greek yogurt and a little honey) as ice cream once and by chance got her to try it and she ate it. (She does not like cake or ice cream in scoop form. Not a sweets kid either) So :woman_shrugging: we have to do what we have to do as mommas.


Unless her pediatrician is worried I wouldn’t worry too much honestly. Lots of toddlers, especially around age 4, are super picky eaters. Our only rule is that they sit at the table with the family, if they eat or not is their choice, but they will sit with us. Normally our 4.5 year old will eat a few bites because he gets bored, and our almost 2 year old is hit or miss - she either eats all the food or none. Both take vitamins daily and both eat some things typically so if that means we serve them chicken 6 nights in a row then we just roll with it. I was a picky eater and at 31 still am, but my mom didn’t force us to eat, just tried to serve at least one thing we liked and we could eat or not.

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Honestly let her be picky but make her understand she still has to try stuff. I have a two bite rule (I break it if they gag but they don’t know that😂) they have to try two bites of whatever I give them and we do it before they get what they want because the good stuff should be what you still taste when you’re done eating. My six year old willing are five bites of salmon the other day and suddenly likes cucumbers which has been a fight since he was two. It just takes time and to be persistent.


I was a horribly picky eater. My parents forced fed me stuff because my iron got low. It wasn’t until I got sick and the doctor got on me about needing to eat things that are good for me to actually try things. I was still pretty limited. It wasn’t until I met my husband at 30 that I have really opened up to new foods. If he asks me to try something, I know he really thinks I may like it, so I will try it. Maybe someone she loves (besides mom and dad, so she doesn’t really see it coming) can ask her to try something new for them? Maybe it becomes “their food.” My uncle (basically a grandpa) got me to try some foods “just for him”

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My 3, almost 4 year old, is just now eating veggies. When she was a baby she would eat them but she has got super picky as she has gotten older. I’ve found that having her help prepare meals helps her eat a variety of foods. She is proud of what she makes.


My son is worse. Only thing close to meat he will eat is chicken nuggets. Only veggie he will eat is carrots. Rarely he will eat mac and cheese. He will eat all fruits, fruit smoothies cereal, waffles, yogurt, peanut butter sandwich, and all sweets. Literally nothing else.

My 9 year old is extremely picky. As she’s getting older, she is trying a couple more things but nothing crazy. She takes the Smarty Pants gummies and a fiber supplement and it’s fine. We encourage her to try new things, but we don’t force her. She often comes around but usually doesn’t like whatever she’s trying.

I have the “No Thank You” bite rule. My almost 5 year old has to try a small bite to see if he likes it then he can choose to eat it or not. Just FYI… no it doesn’t always work.

Try making fun shaped food like there is alot of recipes that are fun shapes eating a dinosaur night be fun to try

Try fruit smoothies- you can slip veggies in and she won’t know the difference. Or if she’s healthy let her picky little butt go hungry. She won’t die in 2-3 day span.( god help you - she’ll be pissy)… good luck…:+1:


Multivitamins and she will out grow it. Give her what she will eat and vitamin for what her body needs that she isnt eating.


Sugar snap peas. Let her squeeze the peas out as a game.
Tri- colored pasta salad
Fresh veggies with ranch
Seaweed salad- gets to use chopsticks, call it dino spaghetti

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Is the doctor worried? Does she snack on other stuff? If she likes the broccoli soup, try adding it as a condiment, put it on pasta, crackers to dip in it. I never had any picky eaters, but I would always make something they liked and added other food to that and tell them they had to try it. If not that’s all they got for dinner.

Have you tried raw and cooked veggies? Ours doesnt like them cooked but she will eat them raw. We feed carrots to the dog and pretend hes sven and he gets one she gets one.

We also make popsicles with leftover fruit (you can sneak some veggies in when shes not looking). Making them together makes it fun. We just use a baby bullet, fruits/veggies, and a small amount of juice to hold them together. Good luck


Keep offering veggies and new foods. We did this with my boys and they eventually ate them. They have preferences and foods they absolutely do not like but they eat better than they used to.

I just want to say that I was a picky child and my parents made me sit at the dinner table until bed time. I’m 29 now and am still just as picky! lol it didn’t make me like more foods and if anything I didn’t want to try foods until later in life because of it.
If your child is growing okay then just work with what she eats. She will eventually want to try things on her own. My son is picky and we get fruits and veggies through the pouches. He’s 4 but still likes them.


Have you tried smoothies? And also, having your kids help prepare meals makes them want to eat their “masterpiece “ good luck! I had to tell my
Daughter every kind of meat was chicken until she was 8 :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: Salmon=Chicken lol!!

Make a deal with her about “one bite of trying something new” in exchange for all time favorites.
As you go through the process, randomly repeat the " new" food, while continuing to offer only one of the same favorite over and over and over.
Mom who had 2 picky eaters: son wanted hotdogs or spaghetti. I gave him hotdogs for a week straight, we had chicken, ribs, burgers, etc. After 7 straight days of hotdogs, he decided he wanted to try whatever we had. My daughter insisted on grilled cheese or hotdogs. Same thing,after 7 days, she decided she wanted to try what we were eating. Burnout on favorite inspires different choices.

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mother of a 27 and 29 year old. They will eat when they are hungry. YOU are the parent. At least a “no thank you bite” every meal. Just teaching manners.


My Son is and always has been a picky eater. As long as you offer her food you are doing your part, and that’s all you can really do.

She will be fine. I know a boy that only ate peanut butter and crackers. He’s fine. Put it in front of her. Don’t make a big deal.

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Make her smoothies if a meal has sauce blend veggies into the sauce I had to do that with my son when he was little he is better now with food

My son is the same he has asd so it’s sensory for him!! my ot told me get him to smell the food even if he doesn’t eat it, also maybe try getting your daughter to help in the kitchen that’s what Ian I trying at the moment!! Good luck hun xx

Keep trying Mamma!
My 4 1/2 always says sometimes I like it and some times I don’t. Everyone likes what they like and that’s okay.
As long as she’s healthy and happy that’s all that matters!

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My son has sensory dissorder and is a pain at meal times. I have the same thing, but untreated. I literally dislike eating because I never know what to eat. Im morbid obese due to my poor eating habits. My son is in OT since he was 3. He eats a few more stuff. It has been hard.

I have an extremely picky 5yr old… she actually likes pizza lol but sounds a lot like your kiddo… I always have her try new foods and every once and awhile I have her retry old foods a s explain to her sometimes you may decide to like something you didn’t think you liked before and when trying new foods I remind her how important it is as she never knew she liked chicken until she tried it… I also encourage this behavior by making things I know I do t necessarily like to prove to her I’m trying things I never liked before or new things we can try together… dad does this too… sometimes it works really well sometimes we have melt downs but as long as your consistent they know you won’t back down… now she or he may ask how many bites do I have to take and I usually say the age they are is how many bites for a new thing… if it’s an old thing she’s tried before I only make her take a bite or two just to try it again… I hope this helps… also now that my kiddo knows I’m consistent, when I’m cooking dinner she’ll ask, did I like this? or have I had this before? and I’m honest when I answer but I’ll say today may be the day you decide you like it… and there have been things she didn’t like one day but liked the next time she tried it… :woman_shrugging:t2: and helping remind her of those things definitely helps… also my daughter doesn’t like things that sound boring or gross so getting creative with names helps too like instead of sloppy Joe’s we call em sloppy Roe’s as her name is Monroe and Roe for short lol she loves sloppy Roe’s but never cared for sloppy Joe’s and it’s the same recipe :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: oh and she like ketchup or ranch on almost everything lol so hey if she’ll eat it with one of those then score!

At this age they’re picky. You can try to have her prepare the meal with you. Like tearing lettuce and such. Talk about carrots being good for her eyes. And such. My daughter blended very many veggies into her spaghetti sauce. It was delicious. Good luck!

When my son was little he now 30 was the pickiest child so we made milk shakes and eventually he started eating and now he tries any kind of food just be patient.

I really think it’s a phase. My 4.5yr old is also super picky. Won’t eat any veggies other than cucumbers. Only chicken, chicken nuggets or steak. Doesn’t even like french fries all that much and loves fruit She doesn’t eat much in general. BUT when she was younger she ate EVERYTHING. She ate everything we ate with no hesitation. Hopefully she grows out of it but I try to convince her to eat her veggies and dip em in ranch, which helps. Ranch has been the only reason (I feel) she eats any thing haha

So my son was picky and never hungry due to some meds he was on at the time. His doctor said just focus on getting protein in him. Offer veggies but it’s ok if he just eats fruit. Make sure he has it as often as possible. Keep offering a verity of healthy foods, but don’t stress about it too much. Remember protein comes in lots of forms…cheese, yogurt, nuts & nut butters, beans (rice & beans together are great…protein plus complex carbohydrate), eggs, etc. Offer apple slices with peanut butter as a snack. Try chicken or ham or egg salad. My doc gave me a recipe for healthy ranch dip (I’ll share below)…serve with veggies or crackers or even let her dip her chicken nuggets in it. She will eat and she will grow out of this stage. Try not to beat yourself up over it.

I have a 12 y/o who’s been picky since BIRTH!. Everything is an issue when it’s time to eat…bread, meat, fruits, vegetables. 2 years ago we discovered he has a few food allergies. Now it all makes sense!
Thanks for the smoothie ideas

I have a really picky 6yr old son and i let him eat what he likes to eat…i was and still am a picky eater so i understand what hes going through. My other 3 kids are not picky eaters.

Its a phase they go through my daughter was same when we took her to paed he said dont worry they know theey limit amd most kids eat like a pigeon she out grew eat still abit picku with meat but eats everything else

I’m picky. I have a 16 and 12 year old. Theyre super picky. I absolutely hate when ppl tried to force me to eat things I didn’t like or know. I still hate when ppl give me crap about my pickiness, therefore my kids eat the meals they like and everyones healthy

I never fought my kids about food. I made it, served it, and if they ate that was ok. If not , then they did not get extra or desert. I am not a restaurant. Eat, don’t eat. Their choice. And they had to help clean Up.
Yr daughter has u very well trained to cater to her needs and whims. Time to end that and a real parent and end this and get yr life back

Smoothies! You can sneak a bunch of spinach in there she wont even taste it. Use a vanilla Greek yogurt, banana, frozen mix of fruits(mango, pineapple, blueberry) a bunch of spinach and I use soy milk but you could use regular milk. The blueberries hide the green color

My son is 10.5. He used to eat everything and then around 3/4 something flipped. We’ve done counseling and OT. Nothing has helped either. I think it could be ARFID, or a sensory issue. My husband says I’m trying too hard to put him in a box :woman_shrugging: no advice, good luck mama :muscle:

I have no suggestions but My daughter is the exact same way. It’s so exasperating.

Try something once you never have to try it again…my dad always told me … I try to convince my now 5-year-old to try it once, Even if She cries. She’s picky too , no meat besides an hotdog or nugget. Dipped meat in gravy my girl has been eating chicken finally! Lol

My 3 year old is the same!! I’ve tried everything… I just sneak in vitamins… :pensive::unamused:

Just keep introducing them and not make a big deal of it. Also have them try something new every meal before they can eat the other stiff.

My grandson is 20 years old and still ONLY eats chicken and nothing and only a few veggies and fruit she will be fine I think most children go through stages she will be fine just offer new foods if she likes them great if not she will be fine

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Steam some veggies and mix them in with spaghetti, the sauce will cover any of the flavors from the veggies

Thanks for the post. I think I’ll get my very picky eater into vitamins!

Will she drink juice? V8 has fruit juice out now that is made from 1 serving fruit/1 serving vegetable.

Smoothies are your best bet.
I had my son start making things with me and had him grocery shop with me. I’d hand him the bag and asked him what fruits and veggies he liked to buy. But, sometimes its still kind of hard on some days. Just be patient and good luck.

My daughter was the same way I had to let her help with making dinner and let her make her own plate

Have you tried giving her options? Like asking do you want carrots or peas

Let her help you in the meal preparation

My 7 year old still wont touch a vegetable :woman_shrugging:

Hey my kid is 18 and won’t eat veggies or fruit.

I once told my Dad who was giving my nieces a hard time about food, that I can’t remember a case of a child starving himself to death! They will eat when hungry, you forcing the subject will only make it worse!!


Pit her on some vitamins

Try new foods maybs

Ravioli (contains veg)
Ramen noodles
Vienna sausages
Sliced hot dogs
Mac n cheese
Steamed apple slices with a hint of butter and cinnamon

Steamed honey glazed carrots

Steamed sweet potato wedges with a little cinnamon

Oatmeal with fruit bits
Pot roast style veggies
Cottage cheese with small fruit bits in it

Mixed fruit cups

Blend fruit into a toddler friendly smoothie(milk, ice, fresh fruit ONLY)
Any pastas
Mashed avocado (add lemon juice and salt to make guac and add flavor)
Avacado wedges (greener us better for wedges)
Chilli’s with petite diced tomatoes
Man which (contains veggies)
Choc dipped banana strips

I give my grandsons the veggie pouches that are drinkable. I think there from tree top products in the baby aisle & also the Bevita snacks, both are pricey, but desperate times calls for desperate measures

Give her a gummy vitamin and relax, Mama! Always encourage her to try new things but, pick your battles.

That was me…your child will be fine

Fed is best. My son was a picky eater but my daughter ate whatever i put in front of her. It will pass. Feed her whatever she wants just so that she dont starve.

My kids dont eat a lot of meat either. They do make nuggets with added veggies maybe try that. They make califlower pasta…and veggie potatoes. Veggies can be tricky plain…maybe try make a califlower salad…and letting her pick at it.

Has she been screened for sensory issues? We have a grandson like that.

My son was very picky and I talked to his pediatrician and he asked if he likes peanut butter and I said yes and then he asked if he liked yogurt and I said yes. He said then no need to worry. He will grow out of it. He did for the most part.

She will change as she grows older…

I have my son drinking “protein chocolate milk” we get from a Costco. If you don’t have a Costco nearby (or a membership), I’d recommend something along the lines of the drink. It’s healthy and it tastes good! Its got veggies and everything! I’ll post a picture in here :slight_smile: