Toddler won't eat mixed textures

Do you have any ideas for a 18 month old who won't eat anything with mixed textures (ie. chunks with sauces, etc)? My toddler won't eat anything with chunks in it and I can't think of many things to give her to eat (crackers, PB & Jelly sandwich, mashed potatoes, etc).

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

The eating behavior that your daughter is displaying is very typical. Toddlers are separatists, liking each food alone. This means that such things as casseroles and sauces with chunks are out. Quite often different food items can't even touch each other on the plate. The best thing to do about it is to respect it, but don't make a fuss about it. Okay, so they want their noodles in one pile, and the sauce in a side bowl. They will eventually grow out of it. I don't know of any adults who insists their spaghetti sauce and meatballs can't be put on top of the noodles.

But in the meantime what can you offer her? Don't be surprised that if along with this separatist attitude, she also has a limited number of foods she will accept. This is also common for toddlers. You may find helpful suggestions if you read some of my Q/As on picky eaters and also on suggested finger foods. Here are some suggestions of toddler appropriate foods that do not mix textures:

  • chunks of soft cheese
  • cooked macaroni noodles
  • soft cooked sweet potato sticks
  • tofu chunks
  • orange sections
  • banana wheels
  • Cheerios
  • bagels
  • muffins
  • ripe avocado chunks
  • ripe papaya chunks
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • kiwi chunks
  • cooked peas
  • tender cooked broccoli florettes
  • french toast sticks
  • chopped hard boiled egg
  • scrambled egg
  • pancakes
  • banana bread cut into small pieces for easy handling
  • mini meatballs
  • creamed soups
  • milkshakes
  • applesauce
  • smooth pudding
  • instant baby cereal sweetened with banana puree
  • mashed squash
  • vanilla yogurt

Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration, however, patience will probably serve you better than inspiration. Children don't always appreciate our attempts to bring variety into their diets, but it is important that we keep trying!

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