The mystery of Mister Picky Eater

Are you one of those mums I see in restaurants and parties whose toddlers wolf down avocadoes and baked fish and tomatoes and thai tofu curry and ask for seconds? The ones you can serve a plateful of adult food to, and watch it disappear with minimal fuss? Well then this post is not for you.

I write for the rest of us, after having spent a substantial amount of the past year and a half on cracking the case of Mister Picky Eater. From counting bites to trying ice cream in sheer desperation, I have lived through it all.

The situation improved recently in part due to these techniques I suppose, since they have been collected from moms I spoke to. But also I must admit, sheer luck and the emergence of more teeth. So I thought I would share some of what I learnt.

  • First the food diary – Oprah has told us so many times, and I never followed her till my toddler situation demanded it. Just a simple breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner note will do. Keep it for about a week. You may find that your toddler is actually eating more than you think. Just not on the same day. Experts say, I have read, that kids eat what they need over a week. So if they need a certain amount of iron, for example, they may eat a lot of iron rich food one day and nothing the next.
  • Dont jump to junk – I learnt this the hard way. Remember what I mentioned about ice cream when milk was off the menu? You will probably only live to regret it, and once you introduce junk, I think the natural balance of a toddler getting what she wants over a period of time gets disbalanced
  • Become a food detective – try to find out why she ‘picks’, and when she doesnt. Some reasons – too much milk, too close together meals, food jumbled together (toddlers are often neatness freaks and like things all separate. So carrots in one bowl, beans in the other), spice level in food, food ‘crispiness’ – this was critical for me. You may find for example, that your toddler will eat his food if you keep it in a plate in his reach but not when you feed him. Or he will only eat foods that are crispy – as in my case. Go with the flow….and add foods fitting that bill slowly.
  • You really do need to offer a food 10 times – this expert advice works for me. But the food still has to follow the eating theme detected in the previous point.
  • Play up favorites. Find a healthy favorite food. Say yogurt, or apples, and offer it many times, specially during hunger strikes. I feel that just eating more solids gets them into the habt.
  • Try to explain that food will make you as big as your sister or your dad. Logic does work in some toddlers, though not immediately.
  • And then the mom tricks – hide, disguise, camouflage – brocolli stuffed in penne, cheese covered chicken, and so on.

And lastly, the sanest thing a mom told me – no toddler has ever knowingly starved herself …..hard to believe, but reasurring sometimes. Please share your ideas.

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  1. Khushi Mommy

    I had similar problems. These are good points. I think you are right about the point about getting more teeth. My personal belief. Also, I now believe we should start solids earlier than I did – at six months.

  2. Anonymous

    One thing I will say – never force a child. It turns him off solids for months and weeks. Only NO forcing can then bring him back.

  3. Priya

    My nephew was a picky eater..You are right anonymous..Never force them to eat…They are going to rebel if yu force them…

  4. winfried

    My daughter was a picky eater, so I didnt feed her for a week and now she eats everything.

  5. Priya

    🙂 funny Winfried…

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