Food & Healthy Eating – Toddlers and Preschoolers

Feeding your toddler or preschooler can have its ups and downs, but it can be very rewarding too!

Eating habits that children learn when they are young will stay with them for a lifetime, that’s why it’s so important to know the do’s and don’ts.

The topic of picky eating is one of the most common concerns parents have about their child’s eating habits. Believe it or not, it is normal for children to be picky or choosy about the foods they eat. At this age, they are still learning about food, learning how to be independent and testing their boundaries at mealtimes. It is also quite normal for them to want a favorite food at every meal and for their appetites to vary based on their growth patterns. The most important thing you can do as a parent or caregiver is to understand that this is a normal behaviour and that it is often short lived. Continue to offer your child a variety of food from Canada’s Food Guide and follow these tips to ensure your child eats well and has a positive relationship with food.



Remember, as a parent/caregiver you are responsible for what food is offered, where it is offered and when it is offered. Your child is responsible for how much to eat and whether they eat. This model is called the Division of Responsibility (Ellyn Satter Institute). When both you and your child stick to your role, children learn to enjoy food and become competent eaters.

How is your child doing? Find out with NutriSTEP®!

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Fill out the NutriSTEP® questionnaire to find out about your toddler’s (18 months to 35 months) or preschooler’s (3 to 5 years) eating habits. Visit to complete the questionnaire. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete and gives you immediate advice and feedback on how your child is doing.

If you are a service provider and want to know more about how you can use NutriSTEP® with the parents you work with, call 1.866.522.9200 ext. 270 or visit

This item was last modified on January 31, 2020