Research suggests toddlers are more likely to eat unfamiliar and disliked foods if they have watched others eat them first, especially parents.

Moreover, parent and child intake of foods/nutrients is generally correlated and most significantly parents’ consumption of fruit and vegetables is the strongest predictor of their child’s intake.

Show your little one your love of healthy food and how food can be delicious and fun with these creative toddler food ideas that will get your bub one step closer to being a little foodie!

1. Have a picnic

Picnic style dining with a range of different foods can be a great way to introduce variety into the diet of your child, often when food is laid out and they are left to their own devices, toddlers will try a greater variety of foods.

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2. Communal-style family dining

Place food in the centre of the table and let toddlers make their own, try chicken burritos with a variety of toppings such as guacamole, tomato salsa, mixed bean salad, shredded cos lettuce and cheese.

3. Create theme nights

Teach kids about certain cultures e.g. Japan and serve home-made sushi, teriyaki chicken tenderloins and quinoa fried rice.

4. Kid’s choice – meals

Purchase a healthy cookbook, let the kids pick their favourite recipe from the book and cook it together on a Sunday night – do this as a weekly tradition to involve your little one in the process.

5. Kid’s choice fresh ingredients

Have a vegetable or fruit picture book and let kids select a type of fruit/vegetable and then cook with it. For example, with apple – do baked apple with yoghurt for an afternoon snack or dessert, or select zucchini and try zucchini boats baked and stuffed with Rafferty’s Garden Moroccan Lamb. This will not only encourage toddlers to eat healthy foods and get excited by food, but also learn about fresh fruit and vegetables!

Remember, mealtime is a time to bond and nourish, not a time to stress. If your toddler has distaste for what you’ve dished up, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Repeated exposure to disliked food is the key to turning the tide on your toddlers’ liking of foods – persevere and have fun with food – you will turn your toddler into a healthy foodie in no time!

Does your toddler love their food? SHARE WITH US in the comments below. 

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • These are really great ideas. I also find if your kids have friends over who like certain vegies your kids are more likely to eat them too!!


  • My toddler loves her food but I do struggle sometimes with my other children. Some great ideas.


  • My youngest child is very fussy have to try these great tips and we’ll see how he goes


  • Sadly this hasn’t worked for my fussy son. He’s quite adamant on sticking to only what he likes and knows best. I will keep on trying though as I know it takes time before they will experiment trying new foods


  • Some very good advice that answers a lot of questions found in the answers section of this site


  • Great advice! Thanks.


  • I love the first idea!


  • I make her plate and pretended it was mine and she wanted it every time haha


  • We always insisted they had to try things, but didn’t ave to eat it all if they disliked it. That made them braver about trying new things.


  • My kids will eat almost anything, they each have a couple of things they don’t like but what they will eat or try out weighs them


  • My son likes food and is pretty good with it. Some days he will like somethings and others not, but just being consistent and offering then again another day helps. There is some great tips in the article


  • I hope toddlers don’t see the picture of the little one reaching over and handling fruit. e were never allowed to that, neither are mine. If a little one doesn’t like some food there may be an underlying reason for it. I know of one girl who when little didn’t like cheese at all. Her Mum later discovered that her daughter is lactose intolerant. In any case most cheese has a high fat content. Your child’s liver may not be mature enough to cope with it. A relative of mine persisted with her daughter to get her to eat cauliflower. Every time she at it she vomited, As an adult she has gradually acquired a taste for it but cam only eat a small amount at a time. Cauliflower and some similar vegetables contain a natural form of sulpha in them. However she has now found out this is the culprit for her eczema


  • I always found that saying they couldn’t eat something because it’s too hot, or it’s yucky, or you won’t like it always had the opposite effect and they would eat it to prove mummy was wrong.


  • My bub is a fussy one. A good article to read.


  • Thanks, a great read!


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