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Pregnancy & 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 shapes.

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.

Related Links:

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Choosing Toys for Toddlers

Tips for Biting Problem in Toddlers

Dealing with Tantrums

Tips to Stop Thumb (or Finger) Sucking

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