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Feeding Your Preschooler

Feeding your 1-3 year old is a challenging, but rewarding, task! It is important to recognize that parents and children have different roles in feeding.1 A parent's responsibility is to offer healthy foods and to decide when and where meals and snacks will be served. It is the child's responsibility to choose what to eat, and how much to eat.1

Children’s appetites can change from day to day, but they know when they have had enough to eat.1 Most kids stop eating when they are full. Trust their cues. Your child will get enough to eat if you offer regular meals and snacks and let them choose from what is served. Look at what your child eats over a period of time and don’t focus on a few small meals. You are an important role model for your child. If you eat right, are active and have a positive attitude, your child will follow your lead.

  • NutriSTEP® LogoNutriSTEP® Questionnaires
    The NutriSTEP® questionnaires for Toddlers (18-35 months) and Preschoolers (3-5 years) are nutrition screening tools that parents can use to assess their children's eating habits.
  • Family preparing meal together.Eating Together as A Family
    Eating together as a family is important and can help encourage healthy eating habils in children.
  • Child with apple on head.Picky Eaters
    With a little creativity and patience, you can help your child develop healthy eating habits, with minimal stress.
  • Young child cooking.Cooking with Kids
    Preschoolers can help with simple food preparation. Having kids help in the kitchen now will help them develop healthy eating habits that will continue as they grow older.

Health Connection

Do you have questions about NutriSTEP®? Call Health Connection and speak to a Public Health Nurse to find out more information.

  • 519-663-5317, ext 2280
  • weekdays, 8:30am-4:30pm

Telehealth Ontario

Do you have questions about food and healthy eating? Call Telehealth Ontario and speak to a Registered Dietitian. It's free!

  • 1-866-797-0000
  • Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
  • Translation services are available
Date of creation: February 12, 2013
Last modified on: October 28, 2018


1Satter, E. (2018). Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility in Eating. Retrieved from