Simple ideas to cure a fussy eater

Toddlers can be notoriously picky about food. These two techniques may help.


‘Even as a baby Miranda was fussy, and now she’s reached a stage where she eats very few foods. She also goes through phases when she refuses the foods she normally eats, which is very frustrating.


‘Miranda was exclusively breastfed up to almost 6 months. When I weaned her, she ate pureed veg but then she discovered cheese sauce and the problem began as she decided to only eat things that had the sauce on it. This started her ‘white food’ phase, when she’d only eat milky foods like yoghurt.

‘Then at 10 months she had fish fingers, and from then on she only wanted finger food. She’d eat sausages, slices of pizza and ham, and the odd bit of fruit, but we couldn’t get her to try any vegetables.

‘From 18 months she refused anything smooth, and since then her diet has become incredibly restricted. If we try to interest her in other foods, she gets distressed.’

Sounds familiar?

Dr Catherine Dendy suggests two simple ideas to help: create an ‘Exploring New Foods Chart’ and an ‘Eat Up Book’

The Exploring New Foods Chart:

Draw 10 columns on a sheet of paper. In the first column write the name of the new food your child has chosen to experiment with. Above columns two to nine draw the senses that will be used:

An eye (sight)
A nose (smell)
A hand (feel)
An ear (sounds the food makes like snapping a carrot, crunching an apple)
A mouth (feel of food on the lips)
A tongue (licking the food)
Teeth (chewing the food)

Draw an arrow pointing down to signal that your toddler has swallowed the food.

Your child can tick each column as she manages to explore each new food, and in the last column she can add her own comment. (yummy, sweet, soft, smooth, runny etc) 

The Eat Up Book:

Once your toddler starts being able to actually taste new foods, start an Eat Up Book.

Buy a scrapbook and encourage your toddler to decorate it. Help them to stick in pictures of new foods, or the packaging, in the back of the book.


Take photos of your child with the new food to stick in too. Your toddler will be proud of her achievements and want to show it off.

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