What can I do if my toddler only likes sweet foods? My toddler has a sweet tooth and will only entertain food like fruit or yoghurt - Emma

Birthday Cupcake


The number one reason that people have children - vanity. We can dress it up as maternal instinct or the need to give, but the real reason is simple, ugly, old fashioned vanity. We want a teeny, weeny, cutesy version of ourselves to prod and mold and then throw into the world. As a result we project a lot of stuff onto them. We think their actions have greater meaning than they do. We start to believe that they think what we think, that they know what we know. He does not think what you think. He does not know what you know. He is not you. He wouldn't know an organic, free range lamb chop from a hole in the wall. You must remember at all times that he is not refusing to eat in order to spite you. 

Imagine if you found yourself on the planet Zog and was offered the lime green pips of the ding dong tree and then the purple pap of the wolffy bush, and one tasted like Baileys milkshake and the other like used dental floss. You'd go for the milkshake option even if your hosts on Zog were all head shaky and judgey wudgey about it. Toddlers do not know the abundance of things; they do not know that there are plenty more milky buttons at the Londis for their anxious mother to rush and buy and cram into their jammy, little fingers. Back to Zog, if your hosts, we'll call them Zogonians (they're a fierce but loyal nation), were like, 

'Look it's just the dental floss stuff now, that other stuff's not in season'. You'd be disappointed but you'd eat it eventually because you don't want to starve. Toddlers by and large do not want to starve. They have bigger things to think about like bouncing and diggers and sticking their fingers in tiny holes.

Toddlers are also very good at regulating their own calorie intake, you know, eating when hungry and not eating when not. If someone could develop a toddler based diet plan they'd be raking it in. Toddlers do not yet have all the emotional junk associated with eating that we do. They don't binge on rusks because 'In The Night Garden' reminded them of the time they played with the ball in the garden.

So your child has a preference for sweet things, it's probably not the end of the world. I know that as a nation we have become far too sedentary but I sometimes think we're getting a bit hysterical about obesity - the kids are obese! the cat is obese! that lampost is obese! Obesity is serious. I get that, you get that, we all get that thank you very much Dr Christian but have you heard that thing about racing drivers? If you look at the wall, you drive into the wall. If you focus too hard on what your child is eating, they will focus on what they're eating and instead of the outcome being - remember when you were one and you only ate biscuits - you'll be sending him to uni with a suitcase full of hobnobs.

I refuse to hear the argument against fruit, it's a banana not crack. If your child is eating with reasonable regularity, if your child is eating stuff that resembles actual food and not some money grabbin' multinationals representation of food stuffs and he also likes a bit of cake - then your child is a child and nothing more sinister than that. You can probably tell I'm a bit het up about this, so for a far more measured and informative take on picky eating check out the lovely Ciara of My Fussy Eater and the delightful Hannah of Mums Days, I've got to go reheat my kids kebab.



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6 comments

  1. Amelia eats quite a varied diet but loooves her sweet things and can recognise them from the packet..terrible! She will quite happily slowly eat a roast dinner but as soon as the chocolate buttons are out they are shovelled in by the handful! Everything in moderation I think. Thanks for linking up #MummyMonday xx

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  2. Thanks for having me! It's amazing how finely tuned their senses are when it comes to sweet things. Roscoe is a biscuit seeking missile xx

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  3. We solved this by not giving our son any sugar at all (yet). He'll have plenty of it once he starts going to children's birthday parties. I think we may have to wean him onto it gently at some point. Otherwise he'll be like on steroids once he gets his hands on the sweet stuff for the first time.

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    1. Ha ha! I have this image of you dishing out sugar lumps to wean him onto sugar. It's probably the best plan - whilst you control his diet why even introduce him to the concept? Hopefully you'll shape his palate and he won't be a cake fiend liek my little one.

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  4. I am guilty of giving my kids sweets every so often! Everything in moderation:)

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    1. Yeah, if only I could get the moderation thing down!

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