6 useful tips for tackling a fussy eater

Concerned about your toddler’s eating habits? Here are some useful tips to get poor or fussy eaters to try to enjoy their meals

  1. Avoid confrontation at the table

If they reject their dinner, just take the food away without saying anything. Forcing your toddler to eat is likely to have the opposite reaction. If your child point blank refuses to eat something, then try changing the way you serve it - your toddler might hate cooked carrots but enjoy crunching on a raw carrot stick.


  1. Set an example

Toddlers learn to eat by watching you and other kids. Try eating with them, and giving them a smaller portion of the same meals you enjoy.

Rather than talking about how good at eating other children are, ask them round for dinner and let them lead by example.


  1. Keep routine

Having meals late or eating at irregular times may mean your toddler is too tired or too hungry to eat. Try having structured, unrushed, mealtimes and avoid talking about food.

Snacking between meals will also affect your toddler’s hunger pattern and drinking too many calories will probably limit their appetite.


  1. Find non-food related rewards

Something as simple as ‘if you don’t eat your dinner then you won’t get dessert,’ can make your toddler start to view sweet foods as nice and vegetables as nasty. Try not to offer food as a reward and come up as other ways to treat them, like trips to the park.


  1. Make mealtimes fun

Try cutting your toddler’s food into fun shapes, or making a face with vegetables on the plate. Making mealtimes more fun will take away any anxiety associated with eating.


  1. Introduce new foods gently

Your toddler may get overwhelmed if you suddenly put a full plate of vegetables in front of them. Introduce one new food at a time and in a small amount, just enough for them to try. Add new foods to your plate and encourage them to have a taste, saying things like, ‘Yum yum, Mummy loves broccoli.’


Other things to remember:


  • Be patient, your toddler might just be a slow eater
  • Praise them when they try something new
  • Don’t talk about how fussy they are. Giving the issue attention will just encourage it


Find out more about encouraging your toddler to become more independent

Did you know it can take 10 attempts or more to get your toddler to try something new? Don’t give up after the first go.

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  1. Mavis Nyarkoah says:

    I’m soo happy to read this. Thank you Cussons

  2. Justy says:

    Thanks so much, i’ve learnt a lot.

  3. Zainab Mohammed says:

    Please my baby is 8months old now, he refused breast milk at birth so we used formula till he was 6months then I introduced food and it was good because he accepted the porridge and all the meals prepared at home, suddenly he has refused all the food except Cerelac Rice and jollof rice, he won’t have any food apart from this two and am afraid it’s not good for him because his having allergies all the time please help

    • Cussons Baby says:

      Allergies to what specifically? Avoid what gives him allergies. But you can feed everything else that he will accept.

  4. Josephine A. Ababio says:

    My boy is a year old,but he pick’s food that has fallen from the plate to eat, I tried serving him his own plate of food,he pours it on the floor pick some to eat n make a mess withe rest. What do I do?

    • Cussons Baby says:

      Discourage it. Continue to feed from his own plate. Feed him intermittently. You can eat from your own plate in front of him so he learns from you.