Generally speaking, toddlers can be incredibly picky eaters. And what they liked last week may not be what they like this week. So far, with Squeaker, we’ve been very lucky and I have an arsenal of child approved recipes at my disposal. However, I also know that this could change at any moment. So how do I make sure that she’s eating properly? Today, I want to share my tips on motherhood for toddler nutrition. That way, even with the seemingly most picky of eaters, you can still rest assured that they’re getting the proper nutrients to sustain their growing minds and bodies.
Simple Tips on Motherhood for Toddler Nutrition
Once your child begins to leave the world of baby food behind, meal times can be a roller coaster ride. Toddlers are notorious for being fickle and picky eaters. But, how you handle your toddler’s eating habits at this age can have an impact on their eating habits for life.
Toddlers thrive on routine, including mealtime routines.
When you disrupt this routine, it can wreak havoc. Unfortunately, sometimes this need for routine means that your toddler wants to eat the same food at every meal for six weeks. Don’t obsess about this, but do continue to introduce new foods.
For instance, if the favorite is macaroni and cheese, you might try switching the menu to the same macaroni noodles but with a little butter instead of cheese sauce. Then add some grapes or apple slices, and see how it goes. Lie about the name if you need to (this is macaroni and butter cheese, yum!), but offer some alternatives.
So, I never try to get a toddler to eat a brand new food in a restaurant. Only in the privacy of my home, where she can sit in her usual seat, at her usual time will I offer some new food. The main point here is that you must continue to offer other foods.
If you are content to let them munch on French fries and mac and cheese forever, they may never be willing to try new foods.
One of the best ways to get your toddler to try new foods is to eat them yourself.
My daughter wants anything I’m eating if I haven’t offered it to her. So, when she asks to try it, I grudgingly give her a few bites of my food, making sure she understands that I was really enjoying it, but am willing to share. After a couple of days of this, she is ready to eat the same food, calling it her own.
Don’t lose hope- nutritionists say that most children get a fairly well rounded diet if one is offered to them.
Just find the healthy foods they will eat, and offer those more often than the less healthy ones. But, keep trying those new foods so that your child is reminded that there are more things to eat than macaroni and cheese!
Don’t require your toddler to finish everything on their plate.
This is a common well intentioned mistake some parents make. Toddlers eating habits are peculiar, but they do know when they are hungry. Forcing them to finish food they can’t or won’t eat will only result in power struggles and potentially problems with food later in life.
Make sure that you have plenty of healthy snacks on hand
If you don’t have dozens of cookies laying about the house your toddler will be less likely to eat them. That said allow your toddler some sweet treats when they are visiting relatives or a friend’s house. Just remember to keep sweets to a minimum at your house.
Prepare a variety of foods a variety of ways.
If you normally cook fish twice a week, your child will become accustomed to it as part of their routine. It will be much easier to convince your toddler to try new things if they are an ordinary part of your diet, then if out of the blue you decide to try new foods that are unusual or generally unappealing.
As your toddler grows and develops they will eventually develop more routine eating habits. In the meantime simply providing healthy alternatives and variety in their diet is a great way to jump start a healthy diet.
What tips do you have to share?