Tips For Choosy Eaters: Toddlers & Young Children

  • Serve at least 1 food that is familiar or liked by your child but expect your child to try food that the family enjoys
  • Encourage your child to have just a taste/bite of a new food item.
  • For toddlers, offer one single food item at a time until they get used to the taste before offering another. Do not season their food with salt or sugar.
  • To make eating more appealing, offer foods that combine color, texture, size, shape and aroma. Refrain from offering too strong flavors and spicy/peppery dishes.
  • Offer options but limit choices. Give leeway for learning to make food decisions by involving your child decide between 2 or 3 options in meal planning.
  • Offer light snacks 2 hours before main meals.
  • Children are generally not fond of mixed dishes with too much ingredients and combination of flavors such as mixed veggies (pinakbet), casseroles and stews (such as menudo, caldereta, mechado). Serve dishes simple and recognizable (steamed siomai, fried chicken, burger, one type of sautéed veggie)
  • Involve them in planning, buying and preparation to encourage their interest in eating.
  • Do not serve food in extreme temperatures. Allow hot food to cool down and cold food to warm up a bit.
  • If your child dislikes a specific food item, try serving an option from the same food group (egg can be replaced with milk, meat, chicken or fish portion).
  • Learn to hide veggies in food (spaghetti sauce, burgers, fritters).
  • Do not force children to eat. Observe your child’s appetite thru their hunger and satiety cues.
  • Limit time at the table for meals and avoid distractions like toys, gadgets and television.
  • Be a good role model if you want your child to eat. Don’t expect your child to eat a food item you despise.
  • Associate meal time as a happy and relaxed occasion. Avoid conflicts and criticisms. Draw attention to your child’s positive eating behavior to reinforce good eating habits.
  • Don’t worry over your child not eating on one meal occasion. What your child eats over several days matter more than just one meal. Do note that there is a phase where your child’s growth plateaus (or slows down) so this may reflect smaller appetites. Seek medical help if the condition persists

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