child fussy eating

3 minute read

Why toddlers go through a fussy eating phase

Key points:

  • Children may refuse the same food up to 10 times before liking it
  • Patience and perseverance are key
  • Keeping a food diary can help you mitigate worry

When it comes to eating, toddlers can be temperamental. One day they’ll embrace a meal with gusto and the next, they’ll recoil from the same plate.

As a parent, this can be a stressful experience. You want to make sure your little one is getting the nutrients they need for their growing bodies, so a fussy eating phase will naturally be a source of concern. The good news is that most toddlers will grow out of this stage so there’s no need to worry.

Why are toddlers fussy eaters?

For some toddlers, refusing food is a means of asserting independence as it’s one of the very select things within their control. Little ones are also constantly being stimulated with new experiences. A new food might just be too overwhelming for a toddler who’s had a big day.

Other reasons for food fussiness include:

  • Feeling unwell
  • Having a diminished appetite
  • Being full from an earlier meal
  • Feeling anxious or upset
  • Disliking a food’s texture

Remember, patience and perseverance are key. It can take being offered the same food up to ten times before a toddler decides they like it. You’ll both get there – eventually.

Worried your toddler isn’t eating enough?

If you’re seriously concerned your toddler isn’t getting enough food to meet their nutritional requirements, try keeping a food diary for a week. You may be surprised at how much variety they’re actually getting.

If the results are still worrying you, consult with a health professional to see if there are potentially more serious issues at play.

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