How to tell if you have a fussy eater 1-3 years

Fussy eating during toddlerhood is a completely normal part of your child’s development, with up to half of all children showing fussy behaviour towards food in their first 24 months1.

You’ve probably experienced how strong-willed your toddler can be, and that includes making decisions about whether to eat, or not eat, the food you offer them. Keep in mind also, that children do have different taste preferences than adults and their appetites can change from one day to the next. Sometimes life is just too exciting, and toddlers are so busy exploring, they haven’t time to pause to eat!

Common reasons why children may be fussy eaters

  • Distracted during mealtime
  • Too tired
  • Asserting their independence
  • Not hungry
  • Unfamiliar foods
  • Toddlers may need to eat, touch or taste food 15 to 20 times before they learn to like it.

Top tips if you have a picky eater

Although most of the time there’s no need to worry about a little fussiness, it is important that your toddler gets the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. There are a number of things you can try to help ensure they are getting the nutrition they need:2-4

  • Try to offer a choice of foods from a particular food group. If they don’t like one food, another option that they prefer may contain similar levels of nutrients.
  • Aim for regular mealtimes – that way your toddler is more likely to be hungry and ready for their meal. Including small healthy snacks throughout the day may encourage them to eat more at mealtimes.
  • Don’t make a fuss if your toddler doesn’t want the meal you offer. Just take it away and offer it later when they’re hungry, rather than give them something different.
  • The aim is for your toddler to at least try the food on their plate. Giving it with something you know they do like can help. Don’t give up, as toddlers may need to see a particular food on the plate 10-15 times before being willing to taste it!
  • Involve your toddler in shopping, growing, and preparing food. This can help build their interest and enjoyment in food.

When they’re old enough, it’s a good idea to include them in your family mealtime – they’re ready to eat the same as you.

Tips for fussy eaters

Why try Novalac Fruits Toddler Milk?

If you feel your child may not be eating enough at mealtimes, isn’t getting adequate nutrients from their food or needs a nutritious snack, try Novalac Fruits, a premium toddler milk with a real fruit* difference.

Containing essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, A and B vitamins, iron, zinc and calcium, Novalac Fruits Toddler Milk provides the nutrition your toddler needs to support normal immunity, cognitive function, growth and development.#

Plus the addition of 20% real fruit* for a taste your toddler will love.

Where to buy


1. Carruth BR, et al. J Am Diet Assoc 2004;104(Suppl 1):57–64.

2. Healthy eating habits for kids (suitable for 1 – 8 years). Raising children network. Available at: Accessed 2 June 2020.

3. Getting the best start in life: All about childhood nutition. Dietitians Assoc. Aust. Available at: Accessed 2 June 2020.

4. Eat For Health, Australian Dietary Guidelines. Australian Government NHMRC Department of Health and Ageing, 2013.

*Contains 20% banana and apple fruit puree. Novalac Fruits Toddler Milk is a formulated supplementary food for young children aged 1–3 years for use as part of a healthy diet when energy and nutrient intake may not be adequate.

#When consumed as part of a healthy diet: Contains Iron and Vitamin D to support normal growth and development. Iron contributes to normal cognitive development. Zinc and Vitamin C help support normal immune system function.