FAQs About Picky Eaters

Is it okay that my child will only eat smooth textures?

Children should have a wide variety of textures in their diet. Textures that we refer to in child development include, smooth, crunchy, chewy, and mixed textures.  If children are sticking to just one texture of food, such as smooth foods, they could have an aversion to textures in their mouth or could be experiencing a delay in their motor development skills.

Why does my child gag when I present new foods to him/her?

Eating is a very sensory rich activity. You have the sight of the food, the smell of the food, and the feeling of the food that the child has to overcome before they will accept the food into their mouth.  If the child cannot tolerate one or more of these sensory components of the food, then their automatic response to the presentation of the food may be to gag, as if the food was already in their mouth.

Is it okay to hide food in other foods in order to get my child to a wider variety of foods?

There is really a yes and no answer to this question. If you are making a food such as banana pancakes or sweet potato pancakes, a smoothie, or zucchini bread, where the food is blended in the mixture then children seem to tolerate this approach well.  On the other hand, if you try to hide peas, carrots, blueberries, etc. into their favorite yogurt or applesauce, where they will detect the change, then children typically do not tolerate this approach.  In fact, some children will then stop eating their preferred foods, in fear that items were added to the food.

How much of each food group should my child be eating?

12-23 months

  • Milk and dairy- 2 cups/day
  • Meat & other proteins- 1.5 ounces/day
  • Breads, cereals, starches- 2 ounces/day
  • Fruits- 1 cup/day
  • Vegetables- ¾ cup/day
  • Fats and oils- do not limit

24-36 months

  • Milk and dairy- 2-2.5 cups/day
  • Meat and other proteins- 2 ounces/day
  • Breads, cereals, starches- 3 ounces/day
  • Fruits- 1 cup/day
  • Vegetables- 1 cup/day
  • Fats and Oils- 3 tsp/day

Is it okay if my child plays with their food?

We really encourage food play at this age. While the child is exploring the food with their hands, they are getting to experience the texture of the food.  They are also getting exposed to the smell and sight of the food.  This will help them learn to tolerate the texture of the food in their mouth as well.  They may even lick the food off their fingers!!!