How I Got My Fussy Toddler to Start Eating
How I Got My Fussy Toddler to Start Eating by Anushree Jain on CoCoGram
Food… Perhaps the greatest worry of every mother on this planet may be on other planets as well.
My life was no different with my 3-year-old toddler Ayaan, who gave me the hardest time to eat any “Nutritious
Food”. Forget about Nutrition, he refused to eat anything point-blank.
He found his comfort with 4-5 things- idli-dosa, bread-butter, waffles & french fries and wanted to eat ONLY these in
rotation (yes, seriously, only these). On some lucky days, he agreed to have stuffed paranthas.
One day, I threatened not to give him anything till he agreed to try something new (something more nutritious in our
vocabulary). And guess what? The smart cookie refused and went on without food from morning to evening.
Eventually, I had to give in. With tears in my eyes, I served him what he wanted (dosa).
Now, what’s the Solution? After a little reading and research, we understood that enjoying food is a sensory
experience. We experimented with these simple practises which changed things largely for us:
- Mini Chef in Kitchen– We learnt that we needed to get Ayaan excited about food. So we got him involved in
the process of food-making whenever possible. We encouraged him to partake in small activities (of course
under supervision) like buying groceries, choosing vegetables at the supermarket, mixing the batter,
washing/soaking the pulses, rolling the dough for chapatti, blending the shakes, grating the cheese, buttering
the bread – to break ice with food.
- Recipe Search – Every evening we would watch one exciting and exotic short recipe-video for cookies or
cakes or ice cream or waffles. In a couple of days, he himself started asking, “Mom, when will we try this
recipe?” Aaah, dream words! This was music to my ears. We did try some easy recipes over the weekends and
Ayaan would take great joy in devouring these with us. (In case you are extremely averse to screen-time, you
could try recipe books with those delicious images of food aka food porn).
- His own Silver Plate & Spoon Setting– We all have those silver plates and cutlery gifted by Grandparents.
Apart from its own health benefits, I saw my little one enjoying a special fancy plate laid out for him on the
table. Again, a little more attraction to the whole Food Activity.
- “This is what Peppa Pig eats”– All children have their favourite characters which keep changing as they read
more books and as they grow. At the peak of my woes, Ayaan’s favourite was Peppa Pig. So when we made
him try new things and he refused, I told him, “This is what Peppa Pig eats!” After some convincing (on my
part) and deliberation (on his part) he did agree to try.
- Ownership of Food– “Ayaan, can mom leave pizza-dressing work for you? Are you big enough for it?”
Whenever we make pizzas, I make sure to step out of the kitchen and leave dressing of a few pizzas for Ayaan
(of course under supervision). And every-time I am rewarded with that beaming smile on his face that he is
being trusted like an adult and I get a confident response, “Yes Mom, I do for you”. Another way for him to
enjoy the food process… Touch it, feel it and love it.
Today, I am happy that Ayaan has opened up a lot to trying/eating new foods without fuss (Hurray!). There is still a
long way to go but it’s encouraging that we have come this far from his absolute “No”. I do hope that if you are a
struggling parent, these few tricks work for you as well as they did for me.
Lots of Love & Bon Appetite!
Anushree Jain, CoFounder ConsciousCo