10 Reasons Your Toddler Won’t Eat The Meal You Just Made

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Your toddler’s picky eating has many, many dimensions. Your kid may have some varying, rather personal parameters for eating (the kid I once babysat who only ate green things comes to mind), but I assure you that their picky habits usually come down this basic 10.

1. Because it looks “weird”

toddler with fork

(photo: macmirabile)

2. Because I want it plain

toddler waffle

(photo:  mliu92)

3. Because you put something on it

toddler food face

(photo: BobbyBokeh)

4. Because there are “things in it”

toddler food 1

(photo:  a2harvest)

5. Because it touched this

toddler food 2

(photo:  Tanya Puntti (SLR Photography Guide))

6. Because it makes a better toy

toddler sandwich

(photo: RobertaFKing)

7. Because look what I did, mommy

toddler with pear

(photo:  So Cal Mommy)

8. Because this tastes “weird”

child with yogurt

(photo:  a2harvest)

9. Because I would rather eat this random inedible thing

toddler eating

(photo: macmirabile)

10. Because. Cookie

toddler cookie

(photo:  evilpeacock)


  1. Andy

    September 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Depending on the day/time/if the moon is in the seventh house, because it has sauce/because it doesn’t have sauce.

    • 88Mwife

      September 16, 2013 at 11:07 am

      I babysat once for twins and one would only eat it if it had ketchup, the other if it had miracle whip (not mayo, legit miracle whip). On everything. Eggs, tacos, cupcakes (they didn’t eat icing so they were plain), etc. It was disgusting.

  2. jendra_berri

    September 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Sometimes I don’t eat dinner because cookie.

    • Emmali Lucia

      September 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Sometimes I don’t eat all day because cookies.

  3. LET

    September 14, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Whenever my child complains, I’m fairly certain the reason is “I’m trying to exert my independence”, which sometimes means disagreeing just for the sake of disagreeing. I try to let him do so in other areas, but, when it comes to something someone lovingly prepares for you, unless you have an allergy or other reasonable aversion, this is not the time to try to have an opinion 😉

    • Courtney Lynn

      September 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      I’ve been known to nearly force-feed because I KNOW he’s hungry. Drives me nuts when he won’t eat. Like the mom on My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This Irish-Italian mom believes many things can be helped if you just “eat something”.

    • allisonjayne

      September 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Ha yeah. I once thought (I don’t think I ever said it out loud thankfully) that I wouldn’t force food on my kid or withhold food. But after refusing dinner, even when it’s full of things I know she likes, then wanting a snack on the way home? FUCK THAT NOISE. But you’ll still be hungry when we get home, and I don’t want you to wake up all night because you’re hungry, so when we get home, here’s some goddamned bread.

    • Courtney Lynn

      September 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      Exactly! My go-to is a banana. He hardly ever turns them down. When he didn’t eat his turkey franks, banana!

  4. Evelyn

    September 14, 2013 at 5:10 am

    There is also “because there is a y in the day” and “because one of my siblings likes that food and it is against the child code for more than one sibling to like any food”. For me it didn’t get much different when they grew out of the toddler stage except for the bit where I feel less guilty when I say “that’s the only food you are getting, eat or go hungry” and walk away.

  5. Courtney Lynn

    September 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    My son is 16 months (almost) and we’re running into this lately. Usually teething is a culprit so he has a lack of appetite or even taste (if he’s congested). It worries me when he won’t eat!

  6. Valeri Jones

    September 15, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I gotta say it, people. I can’t help myself.

    That girl pictured in #5 is WAY too big for a bottle!!!!

  7. logica

    September 16, 2013 at 3:17 am

    After I looked at this and did a little research, I kept picturing some vapid missionaries in an impoverished third world country try to explain this to the people there. This not common childhood behavior, this a first world social psychological phenomenon. China has rapidly industrialized in past decades, more varieties of foods have become available, and children have gotten picky. Chinese parents are very upset because they have never encountered a child who refused food. There are some interesting articles from China where parents express their frustration at their child’s pickyness.

    • Winwin

      September 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Hmm..I can’t tell if this is a troll or someone being serious. If serious, let me tell you – I grew up in a developing country in Asia, definitely not first world, and picky eaters are common everywhere. It is not about being rich or is just something toddlers do. Of course, some kids are just better eaters by nature, some learn to eat better as they grow older.

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