I want to learn about what's effective and what's not when it comes to getting a toddler to eat. I prefer a book based on science/data rather than anecdotes/opinions. Does anyone know of such a book?


Here is a bibliography to get you started. If your local library does not have any of these, they are readily available through interlibrary loan (US), or your librarian may ask the library to purchase (newer titles) for you, or the librarian may recommend a similar title that they do have. These books will be found in the Dewey Decimal system under 618.92 (pediatric health).

  • Boakes, Robert A, David A. Popplewell, and Michael J. Burton. Eating Habits: Food Physiology, and Learned Behaviour. Chichester: Wiley, 1987. A series of articles, including: The Acquisition of Food Acceptance Patterns in Children - Signals Determining Meal Size - Cognitive Experimental Psychology of Appetite
  • Piette, Linda D. Just Two More Bites!: Helping Picky Eaters Say "yes" to Food. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006. Contents: Solving the puzzle of picky eating -- Understanding growth -- Feeding skills -- Fussy babies -- Fussy toddlers and preschoolers -- How much nutrition is enough? -- Making food desirable -- Food textures and flavors -- Family influences -- Mealtime do's and don'ts -- Food allergies and digestion problems -- Feeding a chlid with special needs -- Special services, tests and treatments.
  • Wilkoff, William G. Coping with a Picky Eater: A Guide for the Perplexed Parent. New York: Fireside, 1998. Contents: Have You Picked Up the Right Book? --; Before You Read Another Word... --; A Few Ounces of Prevention --; Not So Great Expectations --; Not to Worry --; Getting Ready to Take the Leap --; Assembling Your Support Group --; Do You Need to Change Your Parenting Style? --; Everyone Needs Some Rules --; When the Rules Are Challenged --; If You Push --; Does Your Child Have a Drinking Problem? --; Too Much of a Good Thing --; A Banquet Once a Day ... Every Day --; Just Desserts (or Never Say Never) --; So Now What Do You Offer? --; Getting Down to Basics --; Suggested Menus --; Vitamins and Other Bad Ideas --; Some Final Thoughts.
  • Healthy Eating for Life for Children. New York: Wiley, 2002. From the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Drawing on the latest medical and dietary research, Healthy Eating for Life for Children presents a complete and sensible plant-based nutrition program that can help you promote and maintain excellent health and good eating habits for your children throughout their lives.
  • Fish, Donna. Take the Fight Out of Food: How to Prevent and Solve Your Child's Eating Problems : for Children Aged Nine Months Through Nine Years. New York: Atria Books, 2005. Presents guidelines for parents on how to instill healthy eating habits throughout childhood, counseling them on how to teach nutrition-based values and recognize messages that a family may be unconsciously teaching children.
  • Kleinman, Ronald E, Michael S. Jellinek, and Julie Houston. Let Them Eat Cake!: The Case against Controlling What Your Children Eat : the Pediatrician's Guide to Safe and Healthy Food and Growth. New York: Villard Books, 1994. The premise of this book is that if a child is healthy and his or her growth and development are normal there is no need to obsess about the food that child eats. Contains hints and tips about real-world food and nutrition, including meal plans, menus, and the latest information on food safety and preparation.
  • Pantley, Elizabeth. The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Your Child to Eat and Eat Healthy. New York: McGraw-Hill, Contents: What you really need to know about picky eaters -- The fundamental four: attitude, environment, amounts, and rules -- Tips, tricks and tactics: Solving picky eater problems -- The experts' favorites: Recipes even your picky eater will love
  • Drewett, Robert. The Nutritional Psychology of Childhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. The Nutritional Psychology of Childhood is a systematic account of research on the psychological aspects of nutrition in children from birth to adolescence. It deals with two major themes: the development of eating and the effects of malnutrition on the developing child. Robert Drewett discusses the developmental problems that arise with eating and food intake, including nursing and weaning in infancy, the handling of solids and the development of food choice and eating habits.
  • Jana, Laura A, and Jennifer Shu. Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor and a Bottle of Ketchup. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012. From the American Academy of Pediatrics. The authors tastefully blend the science of nutrition and pediatrics with the practical insights of parents who have been in your shoes―offering simple solutions for your daily nutritional challenges.
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    Wow, thanks. This is a way better answer than I could have hoped for. – Jason Swett Jun 18 '13 at 12:30
  • Hurray for librarians! :) – user420 Jun 18 '13 at 12:39
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    I'm surprised there's no Ellyn Satter on this list. Her book Child of Mine was highly recommended to me by a pediatrician and while some of her information is surely out of date, her division of responsibilities in feeding have appeared in several things I've read about food. She provides a lot of anecdotes, but as an RD her information is based on her training. – justkt Jun 18 '13 at 13:44
  • @justkt The list I created was certainly not comprehensive - it contains books catalogued by libraries as Children-Nutrition-Psychological Aspects, and is limited to books that are in at least 200 libraries (so easily obtainable). The book you suggest is very popular (over 400 libraries have it cataloged), and it has a 2000 update. It is cataloged as Child Nutrition - Popular Works, so it wasn't included in my search - your personal recommendation is very valuable! – MJ6 Jun 18 '13 at 15:05

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