Eat together as a family,  will your toddler learn to eat different foods and improve their self-feeding skills by watching what, and how, other children or adults eat. Meal and snack times are ideal opportunities for providing this.

Refusing to eat new or unfamiliar foods is a normal developmental stage which is particularly evident in some toddlers. There’s no need to be concerned if your child is only eating a small range of foods or refuses to try or taste some foods as most toddlers eventually grow out of this phase.

Eat together as a family

Toddlers eat better in a relaxed, happy atmosphere and do not eat well if they feel anxious, rushed or under pressure to eat foods they don’t want to try. Giving attention to your toddler when they refuse to eat or even taste a specific food may increase problem eating behaviour. In time, with gentle encouragement and praise for eating well or trying something new, your toddler will gradually begin to taste and learn to like the tastes and textures of a wider variety of nutritious foods.

By eating a healthy balanced diet of nutritious foods with your toddler, you will be encouraging them to learn to like and enjoy those same nutritious foods, building an excellent foundation for future food choices.

  • Make food easy to eat – finger foods are good.
  • Involve your child in preparation for meal and snack times such as setting the table and preparing food.
  • Set a good example by eating the foods you would like your child to eat.
  • Praise your child when they eat well or try something new – young children take time to learn to like new foods.

For more information on how to encourage healthy eating, check out our the NowBaby toddler section.

There’s also further information on healthy eating for toddlers, including practical tips and advice on portion sizes, planning meals, and offering snacks and drinks on the Infant and Toddler Forum website.