Toddler Mealtime Battle – 101 Things to Try for a Kid Who Won’t Eat


Any parent would be lying if they’ve said they are 100% truthful with their children 100% of the time. There come plenty of instances where a little fib or white lie is absolutely necessary. (I had examples but I can’t think of them right now, so I’ll be sure to come back and add when I do. In the meantime, I do recall some very specific holiday white lies, ahem. It’s all for the greater good.)

  1. If scheduled mealtime seems to be the problem, try sneaky miniature meals on the go.
  2. Make homemade versions of your little one’s favorite things, like homemade chicken nuggets or chicken tenders. These are surely healthier choice than the frozen boxed ones. Then, gradually modify your recipe a little bit as you go, sneaking in other ingredients as you see fit.
  3. Substitute new foods for longtime favorites as you are able. Just saw this recipe for Jicama Fries, and I’ve honestly never had Jicama, but they sure look good! It looks like a fry—will have to try this and see if it passes the toddler test.
  4. Provide endorsements, such as “your best friend loves this kind of food” or “Grandma used to eat this all the time when she was your age.”
  5. Make your own snack bars, granola bars, or “flapjacks” for your kids to enjoy. I always thought flapjacks were pancakes, but this flapjack recipe looks divine and my kid is a nut for granola bars so I am going to have to try it!
  6. Hide veggies inside your toddler’s noodles like MommaWithoutaClue.
  7. Embrace their independence. Give your child a choice of several foods that he or she must eat and let him or her feel in control having made that choice.


You’ve heard about good cop, bad cop. Have fun, bad cop.


  1. Instill a rule that your kids may not have to eat all of it, but they should at least taste everything on their plates.
  2. Try to avoid removing your child’s plate of uneaten food and replacing it with a new one. This can cause more trouble for you down the road.
  3. Even if your child refuses to eat, require him or her to remain at the table while the rest of the family finishes the meal.

 Keep reading for SURRENDER and OTHER TACTICS



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