My child is a very picky eater: What can I do?

My two-year-old is now one of the pickiest eaters I’ve ever seen! He uses to eat anything and everything I would put in front of him. He literally will only eat popcorn chicken, sloppy Joe’s, pasta, corn, mac and cheese, fish sticks, pizza, and a cheeseburger. When I make dinner nine times out of 10, I’m resorting to making him popcorn chicken, and it’s driving me insane! What can I do to get him to eat other foods? He won’t even drink the pediasure drinks. What do you other mommas do when your kids don’t eat?


Lol jk :laughing: never works


I give in and let my son eat whtever he wants. His pediatrician said its better to have him eat wht he wants then to not eat at all…also wht helps is let them help in the kitchen. When ur making dinner have them help u. And when its done have them taste wht they made. Thts helped me alot


Mine is the same way. She even refuses to eat her favorite foods sometimes! It’s ridiculous! But she will sneak over and eat dog food any chance she can get :woman_facepalming:t2:


That’s a lot of food he will eat at least. Once my 2 year old would only eat yogurt! She grew out of it thankfully. Hopefully yours will too.

Your baby eats those foods because that’s what you chose to feed him the past year. Only yourself to blame.


There are plates online and they’re a little path to a treasure chest where you can put in a little chocolate or something, I’ve seen online people will put safe foods in most of the squares and one non safe food and you have to follow the little path to get the surprise

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Will he drink chocolate milk? I make my picky eater chocolate carnation instant breakfast. It’s the same nutrition of a meal. If he needs to gain weight make it with half and half

Your kid eats more then mine! Lol! Don’t sweat it my doctor said give them what they will eat or let them go hungry till they do eat new things… nothing works lol

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They sit there until they eat. If they fall asleep, guess what’s for breakfast the next day? This mama don’t play or waste perfectly good food because they wanna be picky.


Make him what he likes, but put other options on the plate. Praise him for touching the food, playing with it. Massive praise for trying it. Don’t punish him for not eating what’s on his plate. My son was fussy when he was younger. He now eats or at least tries everything I give him. Important to not put any pressure on him to try the food. Getting him to help cook food may be useful too. X

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Our daughter was like this, still is at times…shes 3. We started putting food we eat at dinner on her plate so she can try, and to our surprise, she eats them sometimes! Sometimes she doesn’t but thats ok, as long as they have a full belly and are healthy, they will get there. My son is 17 and took him forever to try new foods, now he eats more variety then me!

Don’t listen to douchy comments i have 7 kids 2 are super super picky and we have tried EVERYTHING …feed them what they will eat do ur best to offer new foods my picky eaters are now 12 and 14 and my 14 year old is the pickiest and hes almost 6 feet and is healthy…he eats waffles green apples watermelon turkey spinach pizza only cheese crackers and scrambled eggs haha for real he too went through a popcorn chicken faze he now hates it haha u will be ok and so will your child


Mine is the same way. I just let her eat whatever they grow out of the picky stage.

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If mine won’t eat he goes to bed hungry he usually gives in

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Sounds like he eats wayyy more different things than my 5 year old. :joy::joy:

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If you always cave and make what they would rather have they will always refuse what they dont want to try or dont feel like eating. You need to put your foot down and be the parent. They will not starve themselves.

From the mum of a fussy eaten your sons list of food is great actually. I wouldn’t worry, as long as he’s healthy and alert. My sons 12 and still only has 4 foods he will eat, he does have an asd diagnosis. His pead said just feed him what he will eat. He has regular bloods and he’s totally healthy. Again, don’t stress x

My 2 yr old is the same. Used to eat everything and now he has no interest in it unless its yogurt, cheerios, apples, bananas or corn. I started making him oatmeal in the morning or eggs and putting a couple sprinkles on top and he eats the whole thing 🤷

Your kid eats great compared to mine.

Kids are picky, don’t beat yourself up. Continue to introduce new foods along with a little bit of stuff he will eat. Try to present the new foods in cool and interesting ways, funny faces, colourful, etc. Offer some healthy things to dip foods into, hummus, yogurt.

My youngest actually has SPD. Getting him to eat is a CHORE.
But two approaches that have worked well…
The first, I pick one meal (dinner) he gets what we’re having. At the end of the meal after I’ve finished if he hasn’t eaten he can pick a healthy alternative. Fruit. Veggie. Nuts (he actually loves cashews).
Second, because of SPD…we noticed he liked red/yellow things and/or heavily seasoned things. So we started working out from there. We tried taco meat (so he could see it was red) and he liked that. We tried lemon pepper chicken because it turns yellow. We tried cashew chicken because he loves cashews. It’s a process but hes slowly expanding what he will willingly eat.

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My youngest was the same way. I’ve started to let him help make the dinners and he eats them. Hes also suggested things hes wanted to try and we make it together.

Don’t buy those foods for him, serve up what you have made and if he doesn’t like it then tell him he can go to bed hungry.


Let her eat it. She eats more than my kid does. He has three meals and that’s it

He eats good for a 2 year old. Be thankful he eats that much

I do the 2 rule. Whatever I am making I sure I have 2 things I know they will eat. Like if I make teriyaki chicken ill make rice and broccoli her 2 faves. Or tuna and Mac n cheese(she doesn’t like Mac n cheese) but loves tuna, then I serve a fruit.

No junk food. That should be a treat once in a while no a regular thing. No pizza, no popcorn chicken, no cheeseburger.


Going to bed hungry defeats the purpose of getting them to eat. Re-read.


I feel like this is usually just a phase. Our pediatrician has always said to feed them what they’re willing to eat

Parenting Picky Eaters

Feed him what he will eat. Each week try again with something different. Don’t push him as long as he eats

For stuff that you cook try sneaking a veggie in. I used my blender to add vegetables to sauces and stuff like that and while no it’s not really helping them eat more variety it is helping them get more nutrients. Every kid goes thru it. Parents all handle it differently

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Better than what my toddler ate for a while… she went through a stage where everything had to have parmesan cheese and ranch and it was usually popsicles and chicken nuggets. They grow out of that though

My 2 year old just went thru this phase, he only wanted to eat 5 certain meals or he’d scream bloody murder. I made him sit down with us with his plate of food even tho he wouldn’t eat it, made him hungry finally gave him something I’d know he’d eat right before bed. That was about a 2 month phase and this week he’s back to finally eating whatever we’ve cooked for dinner so hopefully we’re on the uphill climb of the picky phase!

Damn your 2 year old will eat more than my 3 year old! Mine only eats mac and cheese and cereal :joy::joy::joy:

When I find that meal time starts becoming a power struggle with my 2 year 4 month old, I try to give him options (do you want meatloaf or chicken… pasta or potatoes…etc.). Letting him have some autonomy usually means he eats at least something that he would otherwise just push around the plate or try and feed to the dog first before I move on to giving him what he actually wants- the veggies or fruit and bread. (I know it’s an odd problem to have but he would only eat vegetables if I would let him- not a common problem, I’m sure)

The other thing I notice is he’s a snacker rather than wanting a big, full meal at one time- but if his post nap snack is too big or heavy he won’t want to eat much of anything at dinnertime so it’s a constant point of contention when he wants more snacks but it’s too close to dinner.

My pediatrician consistently has told us that as long as he is growing and hitting milestones, etc. he is probably getting what he needs and not to battle over meals that are left uneaten.

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Toddlers graze! Act like you don’t care because they are in the autonomy stage. If he figures out that you want him to eat, he won’t because he wants independence. So you have to just casually have food available so he thinks it’s all up to him. Also their serving sizes are super small so he may require smaller frequent “grazing sessions”. Sitting at the table and one big meal is a social thing more than anything!

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Raise a healthy child who is a joy to feed We follow DoR. There is always a safe food at every meal but we never make an alternate meal. Only the family meal is offered. I’d suggest consulting a pediatric Registered Dietician. Kids Eat in Color is a great resource as well!

My 2 year old is the same way. Food is fuel. I go off his hunger cues. I give him healthy options. Or buy meals with hidden servings of veggies in them. He will eat when he’s hungry. His tastes change weekly lol if it been a super picky week ill supplement with a protein shake so I know he is still getting proper nutrients until the phase is over. I tried the sending him to bed hungry thing. He won’t fall asleep or wakes up at 2am hungry. I wasn’t a fan of that method lol

I make one meal. If she doesn’t eat it then there are “snacks” available. If she don’t want that then we do a PBJ and if that don’t work then she just doesn’t eat. She typically chooses something

At the risk of sounding dumb what sloppy joes

My kids eat whatever i cook, of they dont eat, i leave the plate in the table and when they get hungry all there is to eat is whatever they have left in the plate. 🤷


Stop giving in to him. He went starve himself trust me. Give him what you make . Yes there’ll be meltdowns sometimes he’ll go to bed hungry but trust me he won’t starve


i spoke with a nutritionist about this, she said feed the kid what you eat and eat at the same time together at the table, make it known that that is what the meal is. if you offer something immediately while they refuse then they know that they can refuse and easily get what they want. if they continue to not eat don’t force it and don’t throw a fit bc then they associate it with that and it makes it harder, just give them a snack later on if they continue to refuse so they don’t go to bed hungry.


Mine was the exact same way. She’s almost 3, and she still is the same way, just alot better. We learned that she will eat eventually. We all sit down together at dinner, but when we finish dinner, we leave her plate out on the coffee table, and she eats it at her pace. We give her a cup of V8 healthy greens, and we still buy the pureed food in the little bag like things so she is getting some nutrition when she chooses to not eat.

My 4 year old is super picky too & has been since she was around 2 as well. Our pediatrician finally said if she decides not to eat or she doesn’t want eat then she skips that meal. Our pediatrician said they have never had a child starve to death & sometimes you just have to lay down the law. It works for us but fair warning some days she won’t eat breakfast or lunch & on those days she gets no snacks but she’s so hungry at dinner that she will eat whatever we made. Our pediatrician also said to limit milk & if she’s refusing meals to only give her water.

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My 6 year old has been like this for awhile! I remember when she was 1 she would literally chew on anything. Now that she’s 6 she’s taking daily multivitamins! I kinda make stuff for supper and ask her what she’d like on her plate but she will legit only eat meat it’s drives me bonkers lol

Until he’s over this phase, you could try giving him healthier versions of the foods he loves, such as lentil sloppy joe on whole wheat bun, tofu or chick pea nuggets, whole wheat pasta with lentil or cauliflower Bolognese, vegan Mac and cheese with whole wheat macaroni noodles (here is a great no cheese sauce: Vegan 'Cheese' Sauce Recipe | Recipe from Starch Solution – Plantiful Kiki), whole wheat pizza crust with veggies or cauliflower sausage crumbles and a vegan mozzarella (such as this one made from cauliflower that is actually really good: ), and black beans or veggie burgers on whole wheat buns. That way, he can still eat the things he loves right now but they will pack a higher nutritional punch and help relieve some of your stress. :blush:

Eh, as long as he’s healthy and gaining weight, he’ll be OK. Pick your battles. Harmony at the dinner table is better than associating food with problems. Keep offering something new along with the old standbys. They say it takes 7 times to get a kid to accept a new food. Maybe a reward for a bite of a new food, like a gold star sticker. Have him shop with you & pick out the good food, have him help you prepare it (stir, pour, measure, etc. Check out Flav City videos to see a little one helping to make healthy foods for ideas & inspiration for you and your little one.

He’ll either outgrow it or he won’t. My son is very adventurous (his catch phrase was, “I don’t like it. What is it?” My daughter still only eats a few things. Both are responsible, thriving adults. My son cooks, my daughter doesn’t like to, so her husband does the cooking.

My three year old is finally starting to eat new things it just takes time and sometimes if they won’t eat what you make then don’t give them anything else so they have to atleast try it. We just use dinner to introduce new foods that way I know she’s obviously still getting food throughout the day so if she doesn’t eat dinner then it’s not the end of the world. Usually she’ll end up atleast trying the new food. We also use the pediasure shakes but put them into her sippy cup and call them milkshakes and she loves them like that!

Thats actually not a bad selection of food for a 2 year old,all 5 of my kids r picky eaters,my doctor always told me as long as they r eating and not going hungry or underweight let them eat what they like, our tastebuds change with age,so the foods we like and dont like can change throughout our life…keep offering other things but give him something u kno he will eat on the plate as well,u can also give a daily gummy multivitamin im sure he would eat them,my 2 year old throws a fit everyday because she only gets one a day🤣 please NEVER send your child to bed hungry tho,just let him eat what he likes and keep offering other things

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I find family snack nutritionist on Instagram to be helpful. But honestly all you can do is keep offering him foods it’s his responsibility to eat and the more you give in the less inclined he will be to eat anything else you put in front of him.

I’ve read that you give them some of the stuff they will eat on a plate with stuff they might be refusing. When they say I’m not eating that! And point at the “yucky” food just tell them “okay!” But leave it on the plate usually they’ll at least take a couple bites especially if you’re eating it too. If you force them (like my parents did) they’ll just get worse. They’re just trying to feel in control is all

This was one of my first signs that I had a child with sensory processing disorder and autism and it’s referred to as the “beige diet.” Meat/carbs/simply prepared foods… There isn’t much of a fix for it. People suggest all kinds of well-meaning things (sometimes even semi-abusive things) but my kid would vomit, have obvious anxiety, cry, and would sometimes even nearly hurt himself trying to get away from a food or even the smell of that food. Taking a bite of most things wasn’t even an option. So I’d rule out anything like that first.
I understand how frustrating it is. I haven’t had most of MY favorite meals now for more than a decade. We eat about 10 meals and that’s all. It’s boring but he’s eating and I’m happy about that.

It’s simple he eats what you put down or he goes hungry. He knows he will get his way and you will make what he wants


i make mine try whatever put on plate if they dont like after a couple tries i let it go. they at least have to try. and i will not let them have any snacks before dinner because then they wont eat there dinner.snack after dinner if eat and try foods,but im not complaning to much especially if eating there fruit and veggies. there protein is peanut butter both are picky on there meats like one eats nuggets one wont and other types.

Sneak veggies into the foods he likes - a little sweet potato mixed in to the Mac n cheese, carrot purée into the sloppy joes, etc.

My daughter only eats ten foods at most but if she touches or try’s new food we show lots of praise. She is a g-tube and doesn’t gain weight so whatever she puts in her mouth is a good thing and whatever she will eat is a good thing. Just offer new foods with the old and give praise for one bite or just picking it up and looking at it.

I remember that stage and also what the doc told me no child has ever starved them selves to death, when they get hungry they will eat he said cook the meal and make them set thru the meal they r all past 50 now and no one starvedto death

My 2 year old is the same she would eat anything and then all of a sudden it’s I don’t like to everything, the way I see it if she is hungry she will eat I won’t make an alternative meal she will eat when she is ready my eldest was always a lucky eater and I did same with her now she eats everything lol

At least your kid eats all that. Mine only eats crackers, cheese, fries and chicken nuggets. Sometimes.


Mine used to eat anything as long as it “looked good” or was on a fun character plate … and loved to dip anything :roll_eyes:

I still offer my kids the food they won’t eat like certain veg. But I put in with things I know they will eat and I literally bribe my kids to try the foods they don’t like. Over the last year, both my kids refused carrots 100%. Now they both eat them cause they like them now. I used say, eat two carrots and then that’s enough, or eat all the carrots and we’ll have a special dessert or ipad time. It might sound horrible to bribe, but they’re eating healthily and I’m happy we both get what we want :joy:

Tell him/her to try it just one bite n if they dont like it they dont gotta eat it… Works with my kiddo she usually likes it after trying

Engaging kids in the cooking process worked at our house. Good luck!

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My son is 9 and still eats like that lol his pediatrician doesn’t care so I don’t either lol

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I didn’t give in with mine. You eat dinner or you go without. There’s nothing else. My youngest (about 20mthsl had a MASSIVE tanty one night over roast chicken dinner.
She learnt the hard way, but now at 4, she eats what ever we give her.

I think most 2 year olds are this way. Just keep trying different foods but as long as hes eating

My grandson turned 2 in October his Dr says don’t worry bout it as long as gaining weight.

Kids are master manipulators, they do it slowly and stealthily, you don’t even notice until one night you realise you’re giving them popcorn chicken for the 9th night in a row. They won’t starve if you refuse them anything except what you cooked for the whole family.
Then they turn 18 and announce that they’re an adult now and can eat what they want.

Put your big-girl shoes on and say no sometimes to his menu and let him get hungry enough to eat what you fix. Take turns with his menu and yours!!

Don’t fix those foods, put healthy food in front of him and if he refuses to eat it let him go hungry, if you give in and let him only eat those foods he will be a very unhealthy child. You are the parent be a parent not a friend that caters to his every whim. The more you allow now the more they will control you as they age.

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I’m having the exact same issue! He use to eat absolutely everything an now nothing :roll_eyes: this is all new for me my oldest didn’t do this he was an still is a great eater.

Let him miss a few meals and he won’t be so plcky

Honestly I try to hid as much veggies as possible. If he likes sloppy Joe’s I’m sure you could hide some veggies in that. I make Spaghetti once a week and load up on veggies in my sauce.
I’ve resorted to putting raw veggies out for snacks when they are hungry. Over time they did start to like them and eat more.
Meat is still extremely hard for me and my kids still only like boxed meat :-1:

There’s some great tips on here

In my house if they don’t eat what I make then they can get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or left overs but they have to try their food first. If my kids wake up hungry then I am the one who has to get up with them so as long as they eat then I don’t care what they eat. Yes they eat some veggies and fruits but they could eat meat all day long. I also make meals that I know they will eat. There is food I won’t eat so why should they have to eat it if they don’t like it.


My son is the same way sans ANY pasta but mac and cheese. The Dr and nutritionist said to just keep giving them the same stuff and he’ll eventually eat it. Lord, I hope so. Also, tough love him a bit. Oh, you won’t eat this? Okay, then don’t eat. (And the secretly give him a sippy or bottle of milk an hour later IMO)

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My grandson is like this. He currently survives on frozen chicken nuggets, French fries, rice, chips, cereal, and pancakes. When my daughter talked to his pediatrician she was told to let him go hungry until he is willing to try and eat other foods… they haven’t started it yet :woman_facepalming:t3: mostly because while she is at work his great-grandma feeds him whatever he likes because she doesn’t want him to be hungry or unhappy. He sure has gained quite a bit of weight eating this way too.


If he didn’t eat what I served then he didn’t eat. He also didn’t get dessert. Sounds harsh but his future wife will thank you.


Parent of 30yrs raised 3 to ADULTHOOD, Stop giving into this behavior! He eats what is put in front of him or waits until breakfast, No dessert, No snacks End of conversation! A child will eat what’s put infront of them when they get hungry enough I PROMISE he WILL


All these people saying make him eat what you serve or let him go hungry clearly never had a child with texture issues. Some children will not eat certain things no matter how hungry they are because the texture bothers them so much. An occupational therapist can help these children conquer their texture fears.


I mean as adults don’t we choose to make foods we like? I would never make chili for dinner because I don’t like it and I am not going to eat it? I will disagree to allow a child to just not eat. My husband and I make foods that we know our kids like, or they have to give it a try but if they don’t like it then ok. We have two teens and two littles, I promise there are many phases and sometimes they like something that 6 months later they don’t. As they get older they try and like more foods. I mean I am just for feed your kid lol!

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I have 5 adult children and 3 grandkids I am raising. When I make dinner, I know the 11 year old will eat any kind of pasta, the 10 year old is adventurous and will try anything, and the 9 year old loves rice. I make something I know each one likes. They get a small portion of what they “don’t like” and a larger portion of what they do like. Try everything on the plate. If you don’t like it fine, if you do… Then we found new food to enjoy. My grown kids, we did the clean your plate or go hungry. I think that approach is out dated and pointless. It’s important to pick your battles and fighting a kid about eating is sooo not worth it.

I suggest you have 1 item at every meal that they will eat and offer only fruits and vegetables for snacks. This is pretty normal but letting a 2 year old manipulate you is never a good idea.


I use to do that but stopped cause it was frustrating and they knew I’d give in and they knew it so once I stopped giving in and said no you eat or you don’t


My son had an eating diorder. He would eat chicken fries. So i would slice them open, take the chicken out and stuff them with green beans. It was a job but now hes 17 so he feeds himself now.

So he knows you will make him what he wants! He’s not picky he’s smart! I have one of those as well. However I’ve resorted to either you eat what I give you or don’t eat at all… let’s say after a day of that he ate what ever I gave him! :blush::woman_shrugging:t3: if he’s hungry enough he will eat!


He eats what you fix or goes hungry. He has you wrapped around his little finger. He knows exactly what he is doing and you are falling for it. Sorry, but I raised 3 boys. They’ll live.


This is really very normal. Everyone of my 4 kids and at least half my grandkids did this…At about 2 they go through a texture stage where if they don’t like the way it feels in their mouth they don’t like it. The more you force the textures the pickier they will become. Each child is different just like not all adults don’t like the same foods. Make a list of foods they love, foods they will eat ok, and foods they balk at everytime. See if you can see the pattern or common denominator. Examples…My one son hated grainy or bumpy and chewy ( ground beef, oatmeal, ham, tunafish, celery, )another son hated hot and greasy/slippery( mac and cheese, chicken, spaghetti, fried eggs, sausage) sometimes you get a lot more good food down inside them if they can dip in ranch or hummus or salsa. Also start to involve in prepping dinners youll be amazed how once they know whats in it they seem to want to taste it.

Unless there is a medical issue involved…make your meals…try to have something they really like added…even if it is corn when you have spaghetti! Have a spoonful of everything on their plate…have them take one bite of everything but make sure they have more of their favorite!! I did this with my boys and as teenagers the 1st thing on their plate is asparagus!!! I have one that absolutely hates peanut butter and is weird about food textures like yogurt…I started them on solids with one bite of everything we had…with that beings said…each child is different and unique

It’s like anything else kids can get away with. If you never take the pacifier away they would suck on it for years. If you didn’t potty train them, they would pee on theirself for years, if you don’t teach manners, they’ll never know.
Fix what you want to eat. If your child doesn’t eat then they go hungry. You make the rules, not them. As long as you allow them to get away with something, it will continue until you put your foot down.


In my experience, every 2 year old I’ve raised turns into a picky eater as soon as they turn 2. I think its because they are starting to form opinions and thoughts. When mine were little I’d have something on their plate that I knew they would eat and I’d ask them to try one bite of what they “didn’t” like. Eventually they grow out of it or they don’t. There’s things I don’t like so why would I force my child to eat things, that can be traumatic to kiddos that have food anxiety… its not worth the fight to me.

From the sounds of it …he is eating . which is better than not eating .he may be going through a phase . try eliminating his go to meal things and introduce somethung totally new . if he gets hungry enough .he will eat .kids know if they fuss long enough you will cave in .

Or go hungry…I raised 6…we all sat down togeather said grace and had 1 eat…if you didn’t like it you sat there till everyone was done then asked to be excused…went hungry till next time to eat…we didn’t cater…it wasn’t a restaurant…it took maybe a couple times…then they ate what was on there plate

Google the division of responsibility, follow veggies and virtue on IG or go to her blog. She has so much info on picky eating and how to enjoy mealtime rather than it stressing you out. Also, yummy toddler food on IG and her blog are excellent resources as well. Both women have recipes for picky eaters. I’ve used them both so much. My son is 4 and he will eat fruits, veggies, pasta, yogurt and breads, but that is it! It is def frustrating but it is developmentally appropriate, esp for a 2 yo. Exposure is the most important. It can take 15 or more times for a child to see a food before they will even try it. I hope you get the information you need! Plus, my son does what is called front loading. He eats heavy for breakfast and lunch and then dinner he has a bell pepper and a banna😆 I have always trusted him to eat when he is hungry (bc I read the division of responsibility when his sister was a baby) but I just recently learned this front loading is an actual thing. Good luck!

that is so normal my son ate only 5 things untill he was 4 the doctor told me he will get over it, that is really not that bad, he will be fine

When my kids stuck their noses up at what was served or it really wasn’t something they cared for that had P&J sandwich or went without.

I’m 43. I have ALWAYS been beyond picky w food. Texture is a huge issue for me. I felt I ate better soon when my mom let me help cook or pick out food. Even though he’s young, they have toddler cookbooks and mini kitchen utensils at dollar tree. My kids try so much more when they are involved in the process

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