Picky Toddler Eating–My #1 tip

It’s official.

Luke is a picky eater.

But, honestly, who isn’t?

I don’t like to eat peas or fish and if someone put them on my plate, I would probably whine and complain too.

But, those little taste buds are still developing, so I want him to try new things and eat a balanced diet.

So, how do you do it?

Thankfully, I had a Dad who was a genius with dealing with picky kids, specifically three little girls.

The answer – > Surprise plates.


Say what now? What the heck is that?

It’s the key to a quiet and happy meal time.

A surprise plate is a plate of food that you make while your child can’t peek (hence the surprise). Winking smile Usually, it’s a mix of different foods, basically, whatever you want them to eat that day or leftovers from the fridge.


**Yes – those are frozen peas on his plate.. . he loves them. Smile

Then, the key with a surprise plate – the rules.

There are 2 rules.

#1. You don’t have to eat everything on your plate, only what you want.

#2. No whining.


It’s amazing. As soon as my 3 year old knows it’s a surprise plate and that he’s in control of what he eats, he will eat and try more foods than if I gave him a standard dinner plate.

My Dad was the master of surprise plates. . . well, I guess he still is..  . I think at least once a summer, he will make all three of his girls surprise plates.

As a parent, it’s a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge. Dad would always use toothpicks to make turkey and cheese seem more exciting and he would always add sprinkles to something on the plate. Sprinkles makes everything better, right?

My best friend has three kids and they come up to the lake with us every year and a few years ago we introduced the kids to surprise plates (basically to cut down on the whining that always happens at meals times) and now every time they come to the lake, they ask for surprise plates – and they follow the rules!


Meal time success. Smile

Do you have kids? How do you deal with picky eating or meal time whining?

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!


Filed under baby

7 Responses to Picky Toddler Eating–My #1 tip

  1. Oh I love this idea! When I was little, my parents allowed my sister and I each one food that we could choose to not like. Mine was broccoli and I still hate that stuff! We always had to at least try everything on our plate and if we wanted seconds or dessert, we had to finish our veggies first 😉 I’m a frozen pea fan too – Kyle thinks I’m a freak but I could eat them for days LOL. Oh, and sometimes when my mom worked late, my dad would give us chocolate chips as our vegetable, hehe!
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    • KT

      That’s a great idea! I’ll have to remember that when Luke gets older . . . and I make Luke at least try a bite of everything too. It’s amazing what he thinks he doesn’t like and then I make him take a bit and he ends up asking for more. Kids are crazy!

  2. Brilliant! And I love frozen peas too. Well, we have 6 kids ages 15-1 so I have a lot of experience with picky eating. Our 10 year old daughter has sensory processing disorder so she freaks over different textures of foods too. A lot of parents make different variations of meals for each child (or sometimes even an entirely different meal!) and that’s just not me. I don’t have enough time in the day to make ONE dinner, barely, let alone 6! So they eat what I give them and if they don’t like it then they’re going to be pretty hungry by the next meal. No snacks. 🙂
    Suzy recently posted..LoudMy Profile

    • KT

      Exactly! I am not a short order cook, one meal for everyone! The thing I like about the surprise plates is that it gives them the control over what they eat!

  3. What a great idea! Definitely tabbing this one for future use!
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  4. Heather@hungryforbalance

    I love this idea! I am totally using it in a year or so. Matilda is still in the phase where she will eat just about everything. I know the picky phase is coming though.

  5. Aunt Jenny

    How could you not mention the best part–SPRINKLES! I think that might be Rule No. 3….