How to fix common mealtime eating problems

How to fix common mealtime eating problems

The problems, their reasons, and the solutions for mealtimes


Are your kids having eating problems at mealtimes? Many have simple solutions.

Kids who don't eat well often have common eating problems. Many have obvious reasons and some have easy solutions, as our chart can show you. But if they don't respond or have additional feeding problems, let your doctor know so he or she can direct you to get the help you need.

Eating ProblemReasonSolution
Doesn't eat breakfastToo rushed; not hungry so early; doesn't like breakfast foodWake up earlier and make breakfast relaxed; serve nutritious non-breakfast foods like soup, pizza, or sandwiches; allow child to get own simple breakfast
Won't eat veggiesDoesn't like them; will probably outgrow aversionServe fruits with the same nutrients; shred veggies into casseroles, spaghetti sauce, puree into soups.
Refuses to eat foods if touching one anotherCommon preferenceRespect their wishes: allow her to place her food on the plate or serve it on a divided plate
On food jagThe more you push the longer it will lastPut up with for a week; then resume offering a variety of food
Leaves a lot of food on plate 
Appetite varies; too large a portionLet your child decide how much he or she eats; serve smaller portions.
Fills up on snacks frequentlyNeeds more energy; boredOffer fruit, yogurt, or cheese halfway between meals; find interesting activities
Wants cookie before dinnerHungry"Yes, you can have a cookie. After dinner." Offer a cracker or a piece of cheese
Not Hungry at mealtimeSnacking/ grazing/ too much beverage; doesn't like food served"Sit at the table with us for 10 minutes. I'll save some dinner for you for late.r" Time snacks appropriately; limit liquids before and at mealtime
Rejects whole meal as "yucky"Wants attention; not hungry"I see you do not want to eat." Excuse the child from the table, and offer a small, nutritious snack ½ hour later. Always include a familiar food in every meal; watch portion size