Develop Healthy Eating Habits

Behavioral Milestones

The preschool years are an important time for developing healthy habits for life. From the ages of 2 to 5, children grow and develop in ways that affect behavior in all areas, including eating. The timing of these milestones may vary with each child.

2 Years
Can use a spoon and drink from a cup
Can be easily distracted
Growth slows and appetite drops
Develops likes and dislikes
Can be very messy
May suddenly refuse certain foods



3 Years
Makes simple either/or food choices,
such as a choice of apple or orange slices
Pours liquid with some spills
Comfortable using fork and spoon
Can follow simple requests such as
“Please use your napkin.”
Starts to request favorite foods
Likes to imitate cooking
May suddenly refuse certain foods
4 Years
Influenced by TV, media, and peers
May dislike many mixed dishes
Rarely spills with spoon or cup
Knows what table manners are expected
Can be easily sidetracked
May suddenly refuse certain foods

5 Years
Has fewer demands
Will usually accept the food that's available
Dresses and eats with minor supervision



Print this page