“I’ll never raise a picky eater,” said every mom who now has a picky eater on their hands. What’s a parent to do? First, realize it is not just your toddler. Maybe your sister’s neighbor’s toddler loves broccoli, but that isn’t everyone and – surprise – toddler’s tastes change so broccoli could be a favorite today, but next week, that tiny green tree is on the floor. See ya, broccoli!
This is the age where your toddler is starting to develop food preferences. Don’t give up hope just because this week your child only wants grilled cheese. This isn’t the way it will always be. Variety and consistency are the key to toddlers who are picky eaters.
Here are our tips to minimize the drama at meal time, and make sure your little one gets proper nutrition:
- Consistently expose them to nutritious foods
It can take up to 15 times before a child accepts a new food. Don’t get discouraged. Stay consistent with trying new foods and they will likely try it.
- Serve one meal for the family
When having one meal for the family becomes the routine, kids know what to expect and adjust. Bargaining, being overly accommodating and being too pushy can backfire and usually only offer temporary relief.
Not just in the foods you eat, but the way you eat them. Maybe raw broccoli wasn’t a hit, but maybe steamed with a sauce on top is. Hiding vegetables in different foods was invented by toddler parents (we don’t have proof, but it had to be), so get creative!
- Watch beverages
Too much milk may make your child feel full when it’s time to eat. Milk is good for your child, but only two to three cups a day, otherwise, they won’t feel hungry and will miss out on other important nutrients.
- No TV or cell phones
We know this is tough with our attachment to devices and the peace a little TV time can bring. But, without the distractions, meal time happens faster and let’s them know it is time with you!
It can take a little time and effort to build healthy eaters, but the nutrition they receive from having healthy foods at every meal will help them grow into healthy big kids with good eating habits. For more, check out this video from the American Academy of Pediatrics. And remember, if you have any concerns about your child’s health or nutrition, talk to your doctor.