BLOGMAS #12 || How To Get Your Toddler To Eat Their Dinner

When your little one wont eat their food, can be one of the most frustrating occurrences to a parent. It's a stalemate, you can't let them starve but they simply wont eat. What do you do? I've always been fortunate with Noah that he's eaten, but he's gone through phases of being fussy or not wanting to eat, so I've shared a few tips down below. Especially as I'm a nursery nurse for over 4 years now, I've learnt a few tricks of the trade and if there comes a day where P might be a fussy eater I'll know what to put into practice.

  1. Be firm. It seems obvious, but you must be, we're very clear with Noah if he doesn't eat he doesn't get pudding and that is how it goes. He is a pudding boy, so this usually does the trick, but we don't give in. It seems cruel if you've got other siblings eating a delicious pud but they wont learn if you give all, all they'll grow to know is that they can skip the meal and have the treats anyway and that's not the message you want to send out.
  2. Make sure they're not having to heavy of a drink. Noah only has water with his meals, because if he has anything else, even for an hour beforehand it will fill him up - especially milk. We save milk for mornings and bedtimes, it's filling and I know when he's had it at mealtimes, it's definitely took up all the room for his food.
  3. No snack rule. Try not to give little ones snacks for an hour or so before food, it's the same for adults in that it will definitely spoil their meal. I always enjoy food more if I'm hungry for it, so try to encourage it for them.
  4. No alternatives. If your child isn't eating a mouthful, try for a while and leave it. No child will starve themselves and of course there will be limits when I'd give in to this for their health, but don't give them something you know they'll eat for the sake of getting them to eat. It's showing them that if they don't eat whatever you've cooked, they can have something else, therefore they'll never eat what you cook. 
  5. Lead by example. John for example doesn't like mushrooms, but if we're having a dish with them in, he'll always make a conscious effort to say 'I'm trying a mushroom see, but I'm not very keen, I'll eat the rest'. Therefore Noah knows, it's okay if he doesn't like something but he must always try first.
  6. Start small. If you have a really fussy toddler on your hands, always start little. 'Just try two spoons' and up and up it, till eventually they're trying nearly the whole plate. Even scrape the dinner they don't have to eat to the side, that way it's a more visual aid, they can see in front of them what they have to eat to get their pudding. 
  7. Be patient and don't shout. I'm sure we all have memories of being pushed to eat food we didn't like, as adults we are allowed to not like certain foods and so are children. Sometimes they aren't being fussy they just generally don't like something. Be patient and remember we've all been there.
Do you have any tips to get little ones to eat their grub? Share and help other parents out.


  1. Great post. I was the worst eater as a kid so I'm really hoping Henry will be different. We're starting with just fruit and veg in the hopes that it will set him up to love them later!

    Rachel //

  2. My toddler goes through fussy periods with her food. I'm quite good at being firm with her and not giving her anything else if she doesn't eat dinner. Always feel a bit mean but it usually only takes a day or two to show that I mean business.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

  3. Bookmarking to come back to when Harrison's ready to move onto big boy foods... a terrifying prospect! I'm the fussiest eater, so I'm determined not to pass it on!

    Kirsty |

  4. Literally bookmarking this to remember for when Amelia is old enough! It's been lovely following P's progression through his puree videos on insta ;D

    Lucie xx |

  5. Thanks for the tip, I think I'm going to have to learn to be patient when it comes to this as I was also a fussy eater xx
    Glossy Boutique

  6. I'm going to keep these tips for when Ava starts eating properly. I can remember always being made to sit at the table and eat my greens!

  7. Really good tips - I need to remember these for over the next few years!