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How To Get Your Picky Toddler To Eat

 

Children are unique, and one of those things that each child varies in, is what they will eat. Some kids will refuse food because of what color it is. There are others who eat anything in front of them, and children who eat only what they see other kids eating. Some will have very specific "will" and "will not eat" lists that are impossible to keep straight. Having a picky eater can be tough to handle. You want to make sure that your kids are getting the nutrition they need and set them up with healthy eating habits, but often, meal time can become a battleground. 

If you are looking to avoid a war during dinner time, here's a few tips you may want to try.

Tips on getting your picky toddler to eat

  • Have the kids help prepare a meal - no matter what their age, your kids can help you cook. You can set out all the ingredients in small bowls and have your children combine them. As they get older, you can let them cut things, and help them cook with heat. Kids are much more likely to eat the things that they prepare with their own hands, and with the added benefit of them being able to cook for themselves later, you can't go wrong!  
  • Learn about the things you are feeding them - get creative and come up with some ways to teach them about where their food comes from - you can take a trip to the grocery store, visit a local farm, plant your own garden, or just get some videos from the Internet. Those fruits and veggies will be much more exciting when they learn the whole process of how food gets to their plate. 
  • Teach them about why we eat food - it's not just because food is yummy, but it's because our bodies need it! Talk about why our bodies need food, what types of nutrients are most important to have, and what foods we can eat to get them. Kidshealth.org has some great videos on the human body, including a cute one about the digestive system.
  • Encourage them to try new things - don't make meal time a battle.  Instead, create an environment where trying new things is a positive experience.  Ask your child to try at least a bite, if they don't like it, don’t force them to have more.  
  • Serve a variety - if you serve a variety of foods, it’s likely that one of the dishes being served will appeal to your child’s taste buds. Give your child one serving of the item they are excited about, and if they want seconds, they have to give another part of the meal a try. This encourages variety in their diet.  
  • Limit the snacking - snacks are good, in fact, it’s best if a person eats smaller meals all day long instead of three big meals. You don’t want to cut out snacks completely, however, you can limit the options and times for snacks so that your children aren't grazing on food all day long. When they aren't filling up on snacks all day, kids are more likely to eat what you have presented them instead of just holding out for a "better" snack later.
  • Be an example - if you want your kids to have healthy eating habits, show them how to do it! Make better choices for your own health. Your kids will see this and will follow in your footsteps.  

Remember, every meal is an opportunity to encourage healthy eating habits. If one meal isn’t so great, there will be another tomorrow, so don’t get discouraged and keep offering healthy options to your children.   

 
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