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  • Writer's pictureGuest Blogger

4 Tips to Get a Picky Eater Eating

by Marenda from North Carolina

What happened to our 15-month-old Samuel who would happily stuff any food into his chubby cheeks?

He’s now three years old with strong opinions about those same foods – usually with accompanying sound effects.

“Yuck, eggs!”

“I don’t like chicken!” 

“No foods with strings!” exclaimed in reference to the cheesy, gooey pizza he loved just yesterday. 

It can be frustrating when your child develops the dreaded “toddler stomach.” Our pediatrician described it as gobbling down everything in sight one day and then the next day, hardly anything. Or, indulging in crunchy, processed snacks but pushing breakfast, lunch or dinner meals away. 

Here are four tips that helped us make progress in the toddler stomach marathon: 

Let your child help choose and prepare the meal.

With a set of child-safe knives for slicing veggies, a helper’s tower or stool so your little one can see at counter height and a bit – or a lot – of patience, having your child help with cooking the family meal connects a fun and engaging activity with eating. Plus, giving a toddler some decision-making power – for example, “should we have peas or green beans today?” – increases the likelihood they’ll actually eat the food they choose. 

Make it silly or kid friendly.

Cut veggies and sandwiches into fun shapes. Arrange bite-sized meats or fruits into a smiley face. Suddenly, that boring, grownup food is silly and inviting. We’ve also found that funny names for foods help. For example, Samuel says he doesn’t like zucchini, but if I cut the zucchini into strips and bake them with parmesan cheese, he’ll try the “green hulk fries.”

Mix other foods into tried-and-true staples.

There are some foods your child may eat every time, like rice or mac and cheese. To add variety and balance, try mixing in some diced steamed veggies. You may even blend roasted vegetables into the marinara sauce on spaghetti night. But be mindful when hiding foods. While your little one may be reaping the nutritional benefit of eating healthy greens, reds, and oranges, concealing veggies beyond recognition may not support your child’s willful exploration of new foods.  

Listen to what they don’t like and don’t force it.

Samuel is in a phase where he doesn’t like eggs, most meat or foods with strings. Those were all real examples! So, we don’t force him to eat those foods. We continue to offer them, but if he’s suddenly decided to be vegan for a while, we find alternate foods like lentils or air fryer tofu to ensure he’s still getting his proteins and minerals. You may be surprised by what your child will try and enjoy if you just offer it to them and resist making their refusal a big ordeal. 

Ultimately, keep in mind. . .preferences change regularly.

Young children can be unpredictable, so what may work one day, may not work the next. But by continuing to offer healthy foods, keeping mealtime pressure-free, and trying creative ways to engage them, we give our children the best chance at healthy, well-rounded nutrition. And if mealtime frustration ever reaches a peak, just remember, one day they’ll be teenagers who eat everything in sight! 


About Marenda. . .

Marenda is mom to a three-year old, 16-month-old twins, and 14-year-old stepson, all boys! She and her husband, George, are on a mission to raise confident children who love Jesus, are kind to people, and have fun seeing the world! When Marenda isn’t spending time with her family, she’s decorating, organizing, journaling, out in nature, or working on various businesses.


In this week's guest post, Marenda shares tips to help your child explore new foods during your child's picky phases in life. We have a lesson that will provide even more information on this topic! Head to, select the Feeding Your 2 to 5-Year-Old category, then choose the lesson titled Solving Picky Eating. We can't wait to see you there!


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