3 Picky Eater Solutions for Toddlers


My daughter has never been a big eater. When we introduced solids at 6 months, she had no interest. At our pediatrician’s recommendation, we didn’t push the solid food too hard, but continued trying for months with no progress at all. Finally, around 12 months, she started to eat some solids. Today at just over 2 years old, she still doesn’t eat much. Luckily, we’ve discovered some great picky eater solutions that have helped our toddler get all the nutrition she needs.

Picky Eater Solution #1: Smoothies

Picky Eater Solutions - Green SmoothiesOur daughter still prefers smooth foods that don’t require a ton of chewing, so smoothies have been a serious lifesaver for us. I pack as much into one smoothie as I can to get the biggest nutritional benefit for her.

I usually use coconut water as a base because it’s nearly flavorless but has natural electrolytes (potassium and sodium), then add in some fruits (frozen fruit works great), greens, grains or seeds, and greek yogurt for protein.

Here are some of our favorite smoothie combinations:

Pina Colada Smoothie

  • Coconut water
  • Pineapple chunks
  • ½ Orange
  • ½ Banana
  • Shaved coconut flakes
  • Baby kale or spinach

Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

  • Coconut water
  • Strawberries
  • Mango chunks
  • Baby kale
  • Chia seeds
  • Greek yogurt

Berry Oat Smoothie

  • Coconut water
  • Mixed frozen berries
  • Banana
  • Rolled oats
  • Greek yogurt

You can make a large batch and either pour the leftover smoothie into mason jars to freeze (defrost in the fridge the night before you’ll serve it to your child), or pour into popsicle molds for a healthy frozen treat.

Picky Eater Solution #2: Cutting Healthy Food into Fun Shapes

Another trick that’s worked well for us is cutting foods into fun shapes. There are lots of kids’ sandwich cutters, but we’ve found cookie cutters work just as well.

Here are some of our favorite foods to cut into kid-friendly shapes:

  • Sandwiches
  • Quesadillas
  • Cheese
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Melon
  • Pineapple

Just cut the food into slices if needed, then cut into them with small cookie cutters, like these.

Picky Eater Solution #3: Homemade Versions of Favorite Snacks

Picky Eater Solutions - Mini MuffinsHave you ever met a toddler who doesn’t like Goldfish? Of course not – there are some foods even the pickiest eaters can’t resist.

So, I’ve searched for recipes to make homemade versions of some of these toddler favorites. Even if they’re not the healthiest food available, they’re delicious and free of preservatives and artificial ingredients and colorings.

Here are some of the recipes that have been the biggest hit in our house:

  • Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers [Smitten Kitchen] – I did not go so far as to buy the mini goldfish cookie cutter as suggested in the recipe… that seemed a step too far! Instead, I cut these into small shapes using cookie cutters like the ones linked above.
  • Healthy Toddler-Friendly Mini Muffins [The Busy Baker] – I like adding a grated tart apple (like a granny smith) and a pinch of cinnamon to this recipe, and sometimes sprinkle a few sunflower seeds on the top of each one for a little texture.
  • Baked Apple Chips [Iowa Girl Eats] – We like eating these as is, but you can also toss apples with a pinch of cinnamon before baking to add a little extra flavor.
  • Breakfast Bars [Nigella Lawson] – This is a great basic recipe that’s easy to alter to your taste. For example, I use almonds instead of peanuts and add flax or chia seeds. As long as you keep the ratio of solid to liquid ingredients the same, you’ll have a delicious bar that’s easy to grab on the go.

Do you have a picky eater at home? I’d love if you’d share some of the tips that have worked for your family in the comments below!

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