9 Ways to Get a Fussy PreSchooler to Eat

12:57 pm Diet and Nutrition, For The PreSchool Mama


Picture Courtesy: Flickr – Mojo Daisy

Blessed with a fussy eater myself, I’ve tried most of the ideas below with good results, , and have had relatives vouch for the the rest. You might not end up with a child who can pack it in in 10 minutes flat, but you’ll feel better knowing that she has had something wholesome and filling to eat.

  1. Try other ways of getting her to eat her veggies. Puree lightly cooked mixed vegetables, and use them as sandwich spread.
  2. Lower your expectations. We all know how great broccoli is for bright sparkling eyes, but if the only vegetable she eats is beet , that’s fine too.
  3. Have a list of foods by the refrigerator, consisting of foods that she can eat without having to ask you. Include all her favorite fruits, nuts, and healthy snacks. Having her preferences listed out will make her feel important, and encourage her to reach for an apple or raisins, whenever she feels those pangs.
  4. Use a sticker chart to reward her for vegetables eaten that day. Avoid cash treats – here’s a reward system that works even better.
  5. Use portion sizes based on her age. She has to eat as many mouthfuls or spoonfuls of veggies as her age. Calculations like these make sense to a child.
  6. It’s okay to choose unusual substitutes when she’s having a particularly fussy day. Ice cream over cereal works as well as milk.
  7. Compromise if she’s addicted to sugar bomb cereals. Mix unsweetened cereal with sweetened. She gets her sugar fix, and eats the more nutritious cereals too.
  8. Occasionally, change your dining setting to make things fun. Eat on plastic trays, or pie tins. Eat lunch in the garden or the balcony.
  9. Above all, quit fighting over food. If there are some things she has a natural dislike for, let them go and find substitutes.

Bon Appetit!

19 Responses
  1. Debra :

    Date: October 12, 2008 @ 7:31 am

    The New York Times just posted a great article about this, we tried some of the tips and blogged about it here:



  2. My New Daycare :

    Date: October 24, 2008 @ 5:41 am

    Both my children are fussy eaters. I’ll have to try some of these tips. We’ve tried everything from hiding veggies under other food when they eat to bribes. And it’s not just veggies, but anything that they aren’t familar with…even hamburgers. They will go so far as to sit there and cry if we tell them they have to eat those mean ‘ol pineapple slices.

  3. Debra :

    Date: November 11, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

    I love your suggestions but I also noticed that you did not mention getting kids involved in the food preparation. One of my first posts on my blog was related to this, check it out here: http://www.beyondprenatals.com/2008/09/kitchen-lab-6-food-mistakes-turned.html

    and this one from today:

    Great blog!

  4. Trish :

    Date: March 7, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

    great tips – I have to try some of them.

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