As parents we usually try to prepare what is considered a healthy meal for our young children. Unfortunately, being a picky eater is often part of being a toddler or young child. According to AskDrSears.com, there are developmental reasons why kids between the ages of 1 and 3 pick and peck at their food. After a year of rapid growth, toddlers gain weight more slowly. Therefore, they are going to need less food. They are also always on the go to that will affect their eating patterns. Snacking throughout the day is more compatible with their lifestyle than sitting down to a full fledged feast.
Here are a few things that will help with minimize mealtime problems:
1. Dip it. Young kids think it is fun to dip. (Cream cheese, low fat salad dressing, peanut butter, yogurt, etc.)
2. Top it. Put familiar foods on top of new and less desirable foods. (Cheese, applesauce, peanut butter, etc.)
3. Cut it up. Fun shapes often are the rave.
4. Respect tiny tummies. Keep servings small. Larger portions are not often appealing.
5. Share with a friend or sibling. This shows how other kids can set an example.
6. Let them share in preparation as appropriate.
7. Make every calorie count. Make sure what is offered is nutrition packed foods.
8. Count on inconsistency. If they eat it one day, it doesn’t mean they will the next day.
9. Respect their appetite. If they aren’t very hungry, most likely they will not want to eat.
10. Be patient with new foods. Repeated exposure is the key here.
11. Stick to a routine. Serve meals and snacks about the same time every day.
12. Let them pick out healthy foods at the grocery store.
13. Be sneaky. Add healthy foods to food they already like. Such as cooked broccoli in spaghetti sauce.
14. Minimize distractions. No TV, toys or books.
15. Don’t be a short order cook.
If you're concerned that picky eating is compromising your child's growth and development or if certain foods make your child ill, consult your child's doctor.Back To Top