We systematically reviewed the literature on farm household models, with emphasis on those focused on smallholder systems. The models were evaluated on their predictive ability to describe short term (3-10 years) food security of smallholder farm households under climate variability and under different scenarios of climate change. The review of 126, mainly production-oriented, farm household models, showed that integrated analyses of food security at the farm household level are scarce. Some models deal with elements of food security, but the models covered in this review are weak on decision-making theory and risk analyses. These aspects need urgent attention for dealing with more complex adaptation and mitigation questions, in the face of climatic change. Approaches that make use of decision making theory and combine the strengths of (dynamic) mathematical programming and expert systems decision models seem promising in this respect. They could support the robust evaluation of climate change impacts and adaptive management options on smallholder systems.