Encouraging a toddler to eat can be frustrating!! The more stressed you get the less your toddler seems to eat. Every child is different and what might work for one may not be the perfect solution for another.
Below I have provided some tips that have worked for others and some great info about nutrition.
- Praise, even if they only take the tiniest bite of a new food. And don’t react when he refuses something.
- Avoid providing alternatives. Your child soon realise that he/she needs to eat what you have prepared.
- Keep introducing new foods. If you stick with the few your child likes, you are inadvertently encouraging fussiness and your child may not get enough nutrients.
- Try sneaking vegetables into their diet by blending it into sauces or soups, hiding it in lasagne, or popping it under the cheese on a pizza.
- Make your own healthy fast food, such as fish fingers and chicken/vegatable nuggets.
- Finger food helps toddlers feel more ‘in control’: meatballs, corn on the cob and sweet potato wedges are popular.
- Create a reward chart where your child gets a star for trying a new food. When he/she collects five they get a non food treat.
- Placing food on the table in bowls, allowing them to serve themselves can be surprising successful. Resist the need to help - just let them get on with it. Do ensure the dishes are not too hot to touch first.
- Allow them to feed themselves as much as possible with finger foods and cutlery, and try to relax about the mess.
Get them involved in some simple food preparation. At lunch let them have a go at spreading butter on their toast. At dinner you could let them help chop vegetables (mushrooms are a good option with a children's knife) or best thing ever mashing potatoes. Sometimes just letting them sprinkle cheese on top of their food can be enough to renew interest in what they are eating.
Let them 'play' with their food - this is all new to them and they are just exploring.
I have found this great video with some amazing foodie tips for toddlers!
If it worked for her it might work for you!
It is also important to think about the types of food your child is eating. Can you adapt to healthier options? A balanced diet makes for a healthier child.
I have included a link from the British Nutrition Foundation which has some super useful tips and a really good guide to portion control.
OK, I hope you have found some of the information of help. Feel free to ask me questions, after 18 years of caring for children I may have a trick or too that might help you and your very particular toddler :)