Parenting > Parenting Toddlers
Dealing with Picky Eaters
Toddlers are naturally picky eaters. This is
because their growth rate is slowing down and they simply need
less food to keep them going. Their appetite is also impacted by
their activity level. If you want to make sure that your picky
little eater is getting the nutrition that they need then you
really need to simply offer them healthy choices that they can
pick at throughout the week.
Tip 1 – Healthy Snacks
Since a toddler’s appetite is guided by their
activity it is important to have healthy snacks on hand when their
appetite spikes. If at all possible you should offer non-processed
foods as snacks. Some healthy snacks include: steamed baby
carrots, steamed broccoli flowerettes, apple slices, banana
slices, string cheese, dry cereal, sliced hard boiled eggs,
grapes, and tropical fruit.
Tip 2 – Smoothies
If your toddler likes smoothies then this can be a
great way to provide them with the nutrients that they need.
Smoothies can be made with the toddler’s favorite fruits and skim
milk or vanilla yogurt. You can also add nutrients to the smoothie
by mixing in flavorless fiber powder, wheat germ, or juice.
Tip 3 – Make the Meal Fun
Toddlers like to make a mess. They love to spread
things and they like to dip things. Play to these like by
providing them with foods that they can spread and dip. Try peanut
butter spread on apple slices, or show the toddler how to spread
cream cheese on a bagel half. Dip is another great way to get your
toddler to try new vegetables and fruits. For veggies try cottage
cheese, Ranch, or guacamole. For fruits try dips made from
preserves, peanut butter, or fruit purees.
Tip 4 – Make it Look Interesting
One reason toddlers won’t eat something is because
they don’t like the way that it looks. Their disinterest in a food
can be caused by something as simple as they don’t like the shape
of the food. To mix things up you might want to try cutting
sandwiches and other foods into interesting shapes, or use cookie
cutters to cut out shapes like hearts, circles, and character
Tip 5 – Cover up Dislikes
If your toddler doesn’t like a certain food, try
topping it with something that they do like. For example if you
can’t get them to eat broccoli, but they like cheese, try topping
the steamed broccoli with a little cheese sauce. If you have a
hard time getting your child to eat vegetables try mixing a can of
vegetarian vegetable soup with your pizza sauce and then top it as
you normally would.
Tip 6 – Involve Your Toddler with Meal Prep
Another way to get your toddler interested in
different foods is to let them help you prepare the meal. Let them
help with easy tasks like stirring, counting, measuring, and
sifting. As they get older you can let them help with cutting up
vegetables, as long as you supervise them.