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Toddler Refusing to Eat Healthy Foods

1 year old eating in high chair

I have one “add on” question to this. If I continue to present the veggies & fruits & he still refuses to eat them, should I give him something else just so he eats or let him be hungry?

Your job is to present him with healthy foods and be patient. When he is truly hungry, he will eat. If you give him goldfish and chicken nuggets when he chooses not to eat, you will soon have a toddler who only eats goldfish and chicken nuggets.

In my practice, I have met many exhausted mothers who try to please their family with personalize meals for each individual. Some parents prepare two or even three separate meals each night. These same parents are often frustrated that their children do not eat healthy foods.  They desire only to make their children and husband happy, but in fact they are perpetuating bad habits.

When parents complain about their child’s limited diet, I first ask about the parents diet. Are you as parents eating your fruits and veggies? Do you eat as a family to set a good example for your children?

If we parents do not set a good example our children will not have good dietary habits.

If your son chooses not to eat healthy meals, beware of snacks. Children often try to to fill up on snack foods to avoid eating meals. In our home, we allow are children full access to fruits and veggies. Gordon children who do not eat well at meals are limited to fruits and veggies.

I rarely see “picky eaters” in big families. Simply put, the experienced parents in big families don’t have the time to tolerate these high maintenance habits. Big families tend to eat at home, eat as a family and serve one meal. Adopt these habits and you too will have healthy eaters.

Follow up 2 months later

Our son is doing better with his eating. I had already started limiting snacks to see if that would help & it has. I've also found the more I can let him feed himself, the better. He will eat a big bowl of applesauce or yogurt if I ignore the mess & just let him do it himself.


1 year old spitting out fruits and veggies

I had a few questions about 14 month old’s eating habits. First off, he switched to cow's milk at 12 months with no problems at all. He normally eats pretty well, but seems to have an issue with the texture of some foods - mostly fruits & cooked vegetables. (... more on see 1 year old spitting out fruits and veggies)



Written Feburary 2011 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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