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8 Tips How to Handle Picky Eaters

Updated on August 9, 2020
peachpurple profile image

Peacherpurple had been taking care of her 2 kids for the past 20 years. She has abundant tips and advice on parenting skills to share.

I don't want to EAT ! Don't ask me WHY !
I don't want to EAT ! Don't ask me WHY ! | Source

What does your child likes to eat before mealtimes?

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No Snacks Before Meals

Potato Crisp
Potato Crisp | Source

Reasons for Picky Toddlers

It is a very common scene in each household especially lunch or dinner time.

Many parents are conscientious about trying to make their children or toddlers to eat the proper food. They had learned to be picky when eating food.

Here are 4 reasons why toddlers and kids are picky over food.

  1. Picky eaters children not eating at the right time because many young children and older ones are craving for snacks in between meals.
  2. If children are eating healthy and right food is given at a sensible hour, it wouldn't interfere meal times. Hence, parents should stay closely at picky eaters diet.
  3. You could hear parents frequently complaining about their children eating problems or have no appetite at meal times but is always searching for food in between meals.
  4. Problematic children usually are due to parents who have been too lenient about the food the child had.

Helpful Tips

Think of creative ways to serve foods that you child dislike

Think out of the box !

Replace veggies with potatoes or eggs

Tips to Encourage Kids To Eat

These ideas may help parents who are constantly nagging non-stop during mealtimes to stop yelling and repeating the tape.

  • Avoid cakes, cookies, biscuits, pastry, salty (tidbits) and fried snack food because they are rich in calories, poor in nutrition value and bad for the teeth.
  • Biscuits and bread stick to the teeth for some time which are not ideal snack. Cavities and tooth decay are formed in between a month or so. You may catch a little white spot or black spot on the tooth enamel.
  • Parents ought to consider the nutrition for children by giving fresh fruit, salads, fruit juices which are easily made and quickly digested.
  • Many children could still go without food between meals especially when their mind are fully occupied with activities and games that keep them busy.

Healthy Eating Quiz

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Get A Fruit Juice Blender For Your Kids

In the past, I used to squeeze out orange juice with a fruit juice squeezer, the one that I had to cut the orange into halves, press the orange down onto the plastic squeezer , press and squeeze with all my might just to get a ¼ cup of fresh orange juice.

Now, with my new fruit juice blender, I could blend smoothies, fresh fruit juices and even mince, chop or dice onions or garlic with ease.

I had read many reviews before I finally decided to trust this brand with an affordable rice.

  1. Firstly, I chopped some fresh carrots with the skin on and blend them with this blender. It takes a few minutes to blend a smooth thick juice, the one that I like.
  2. I add in some evaporated milk and add in some ice cubes, it taste like restaurant carrot juice that worth $5 per glass!
  3. It is easy to wash, just rinse the jug under the tap water, use a soft sponge with washing liquid and quickly scrub out the leftovers.
  4. Not so noisy and easy to handle. Worth the price and most importantly, I could blend carrot, orange, apple or watermelon juice anytime for my kids !

Regular Fried Rice is a boring meal for my kids. So, I added in Tom Yum paste and they fell in love with it!
Regular Fried Rice is a boring meal for my kids. So, I added in Tom Yum paste and they fell in love with it! | Source

TOP 4 Reasons Why Your Child Is A Picky Eater

Why children and toddlers are always choosy over food?

Why do they say the same excuse " I have No Appetite" ?

Parents cannot understand why picky eaters are picky over food because many did not consider the children s' opinion and point of view at all.

Parents become temperamental, lack of patience when their children or toddler are not eating during appropriate meal time.

Let us just sit down and think over, what went wrong.

Reason No.1.

Unattractive Colors and Taste

Why toddlers are picky over food colors and taste

Some healthy children are born with a big appetite that stays big even though they are sick or moody.

Others have appetite that are more moderate and easily affected by emotions.
Toddler and children eating problems can be very different from each other in the amount of food they consume and what food they like or dislikes.

As the children and toddler get older, their feeling about food changes.They become more choosy or less hungry.

Many become more picky like adults because they are more opinionated.
Children begin to have their own ideas and opinions what food they dislikes due to its' taste or colors. Their memory are improving too.


4 Useful Tips

  1. Having the same meals regularly like 4 days in a week could take away the appetite at meal times. Always think ahead before meal times with different menus daily.
  2. Make your food more appealing. Try imaginative ways or browse through recipe books for appealing ideas. Kids love cartoon characters. Make funny faces with ingredients to attract their appetite.
  3. Make a research for those food which are nutrition for children. Replace ingredients that your toddler dislike with equivalent nutrient foods.
  4. Serve different type of food daily or fortnight. You could serve pasta 2 days a week, 2 days fluids, 2 days sandwiches and a day out with the whole family.

Reason No.2

Teething Period

My son's new tooth grew even before the milk tooth came off
My son's new tooth grew even before the milk tooth came off | Source

#2- Teething Period

Another problem is teething period. Teething especially when first molars are on their way, takes away their appetite. Sometimes they are in pain, itchy or swollen.

Babies might eat 1/2 of the portion of usual amount of food whereas some entirely refuse any food given.


Switch solid food with baby milk at this crucial period.

Try making some sandwiches with his favorite hams or hotdog to improve his appetite.

Soft con gee or porridge with minced meat is suitable for toothless or growing permanent tooth kids.

Easy Pork Congee For Toddler

Reason No.3

Falling Sick or A Short Illness

Are you having a hard time when your child is sick?

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Medicines and syrups

Fever syrup
Fever syrup | Source

At the midway or end of an illness or when the child is recovering from a minor sickness, refrain from pushing or urging the food to a sick child until his appetite returns to normal.

It may takes days or a couple of weeks before the child could have a chance to slowly forget the unpleasant taste and smell of the medicine given.
This is due to the medicine has been lingering in his mind and taste buds for quite sometime.


  1. Try making some soft porridge with minced meat or chicken and a little carrots.
  2. Chicken oatmeal or minced beef oatmeal.
  3. Give him a cup of his regular hot beverage with crackers to ease the hunger.
  4. Give some comforting soups with vegetables and chopped potatoes.
  5. Pasta soups or pasta salad for a change.
  6. A bottle of formula milk will do.

Reason No.4

Mood Swings

Forcing a bad mood kiddo to eat may end up a MEAL WAR instead !
Forcing a bad mood kiddo to eat may end up a MEAL WAR instead ! | Source

Change of Mood or Feelings

When the child is feeling frustrated over unsolved problems, stress over studies, tiredness due to a exercise or a long day at school, unhappiness due to family or friends problems, these moods and feelings could affect their appetite too.

Children are born with immediate reaction to get annoyed when being pushed too hard.
Normally, a child will have this feeling when the parents persistent feeding or coaxing is beyond the child tolerance, which will end up the child pushing away the food, spilling it on the floor on purpose and answering back in a bad manner.
Persuading the child to eat at this emotional state is useless.


  1. Just take away the unfinished food.
  2. You don't have to worry about him starving because he will start savaging for food when hunger pang strikes.
  3. Arguments and battles over food starts when the actual reason is not solve.
  4. This will result into huge problems over years to come.
  5. Reserve some bread or buns, healthy snack bars on the table so that he can eat them when he is hungry or after his mood has tide over.

Why You SHould Buy A Slow Cooker

  • I would recommend every household to buy a slow cooker or a crock pot for slow cooking especially soups, broth or porridge.
  • This slow cooker is a perfect kitchen tool for making stews, sauces, porridge and soups for the whole family.
  • It has 3 settings; High, Low and Warm to adjust as per your likings.
  • I love this slow cooker because I could boil soups and porridge in the morning, leave it at LOW setting. By the time I finished work, I could feed my son with the warm, cooked meal.
  • A perfect pot for keeping warm meals too. I used it to keep warm minced pork porridge for my son so that he can have it anytime of the day.

Kids are very visual, and they might not eat a food just because of its colour.

- Tom Aikens

Why Parents Shouldn't Ignore Children Eating Problems

You can frequently hear parents complaining that their children prefer burgers, pizza, fried food and carbonated cold drinks compare to a decent nutritious meal.

Therefore, the child refuses to touch anything else if those food are not given. Now, this is a serious problem.

It is a great mistake for the parent to think that as long as the child fills up his stomach, it doesn't matter what he eats.

In long term run, the child's body will not get the necessary variety of nutrients and would lead him to obesity, overweight and increase the chances of developing unexpected diseases.

4 Top Solutions To Solve Children Eating Problems

Solution 1- Give less food

  • Serve less food, not more. By serving less portion of food, your kids will ask for more if he does feel hungry.
  • Eat 5 times a day instead of 3. When the child is eating poorly, serve small portions. Serve half of the normal amount of food he usually takes on his plate.
  • If the first meal is insufficient, he will ask for more. Give him a little more for the second helping.
  • Remember to serve small portion food on a small plate so that the child doesn't feel humiliated instead of sitting in front of tiny portion of food on a huge plate.
  • Since he eats little food, he will become hungry in a couple of hours later. Let him eat again but this time, serve different type of wholemeal and nutritious food.

Solution 2- Give Up

  • Let the child give up certain vegetables or meat for a while.
  • When the child started to reject the vegetables that he loved, ask him why but don't make a fuss about it.
  • He will probably start eating it in the next week or month. Frequent persistent will only set his mind that this particular vegetable is his enemy.
  • Therefore, it is wise to use encouraging way to take advantage of the great variety of fresh , frozen and canned vegetables, which can be found in wet market and hypermarket.

Dumpling Soup

Comfort dumpling soup
Comfort dumpling soup | Source

Solution 3- Replacement

  • If he turns against all vegetables, replace them with bean curd, potatoes , dumplings, soft buns or fruits.
  • Recommend any other food which are nutritious and colorful, in order to attract their attention.

peaches | Source

Solution 4- Fruits

  • Serve fruits 2 or 3 times a day, either in the form of fruit juice, cut fruits or mix them with yogurt.
  • Forget about vegetables for a couple of weeks. Once your toddler gets tired of fruits, he will eventually try his taste buds on vegetables again because he had forgotten the taste and flavor.

Why Cookie Monster Is Mummy FAVORITE Character?

Why I Love Cookie Monster?

  • He is blue , my favorite color.
  • His appetite makes my kids hungry.
  • He likes cookies, so do my kids.
  • He eats like a chicken, bits of crumbs all over the place, same as my kids.
  • He is never a picky eater, my kids are learning from this cute fella now.

Food That May Improve Child's Appetite

Quick Cooking Oats with milk, honey or creamer could enhance your kids' appetite
Quick Cooking Oats with milk, honey or creamer could enhance your kids' appetite | Source

More Ideas to Fix Children Eating Problems

Food Substitute

When making up meals, select a well-balanced food. Choose from among the wholesome food that the child can enjoy. Expect his taste to change from month to month.

1. Milk

Many diary products can substitute milk. Yogurt is made of milk. Various soups can be mixed with milk instead of water. Same goes with baked macaroni and mash potatoes. Non-processed cheese is also made of milk. Cottage cheese has a little fat and is easily digested. Mix it with vegetables or fruits. Butter or margarine can be added gradually to vegetables and bread.

2. Meat and Poultry

Beef, chicken , turkey, lamb, liver, bacon, ham pork and mutton can be replaced with fish which contain protein. Steam fish and baked fish are more suitable than fried or grill ones because it contain less fat and the nutrients are retained.

3. Vegetables

Steam or mash cooked vegetables for easy digestion. However, it may taste bland or raw. Substitute vegetables with sweet potatoes, fruits, yams and potatoes. Instead of stir fry vegetables, change it to soups or steam vegetables. Alternatively, turn sweet potatoes into sweet dessert, turn vegetables and fruits into juice for easy consumption.

4. Bread and cereals

Mix cereals with milk or cook with oatmeal. If the child is sick of cereal, serve bread either toast, porridge, buns, pasta or pancake for a change. Mix pancake with fruits which makes it more appetizing.

Do You Want To See Your Child Crying Again?

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2010 peachy


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