“My toddler is a picky eater. I am concerned about him.”
Whenever you meet a toddler’s parents you will find them complaining about their toddler throwing tantrums at the table. As a mom of a toddler, I know how hard it is to deal with a baby who doesn’t eat well.
It can be sometimes really frustrating to make a fussy eater eat without losing your cool.
I have compiled 20 working tips and tricks to make your trouble making little one eat well during meal time.
1. Eat as Family
Toddlers love to imitate other people around him. Let your picky eater sit and have his meal along with the other family members. Offer the same food which you are having. This would lead to a successful feeding session as your toddler would get a feeling that he is eating what others are eating and he is not offered something different.
2. SAME CROCKERY
Toddlers are great observers. They are always curious about what others are eating. When they see their plate and bowl different than their parent’s plate and bowl they think that the parents are eating something interesting and they are offered separate food. So, use the feeding essentials for your little one from your crockery set.
3. Use attractive feeding set
If you are already using the same plate and bowl for your toddler as yours and still he is being picky, consider buying an attractive feeding set for him. The colorful and attractive looking set might excite him resulting in your toddler enjoying his meal time.
Recommended: FunBlast Bamboo Fiber Eco- Friendly Kids Feeding Set (Non-Toxic and Safe)
4. Turn off the Television and other activities
Turn off the television, tablet, games and other distractions around your toddler. Let your fussy eater concentrate only on his food.
5. Choose a fixed meal time
Follow a consistent mealtime for your picky toddler. Divide his feeding sessions into five parts- three main meals and two snacks. Decide the meal timings and the gap between the meals that suit your toddler’s routine (consider naps too).
To maintain the consistency, your little one should have a fixed routine for everything- mealtime, naptime, and playtime (obviously it can go a little up and down). Feed him at the same time every day and in a few days, he would know what to expect when.
Another tip is don’t feed your child immediately after waking up and just before his nap time.
6. Give Reasonable Portion of food
As discussed above, divide your toddler’s meals into five parts. Don’t expect your toddler to eat a large portion of the main meal after having a large portion of the previous meal. Always remember, kids, love to eat throughout the day. So, spread the meals diligently into multiple parts keeping the quantity reasonable.
7. Don’t offer the same food too often
Introduce a variety of foods in your toddler’s meal chart. Toddlers often get bored if they are offered the same food too often.
Some of the healthy food ideas for picky toddlers are listed below:
- Stuffed Paranthas
- Beaten Rice With Banana
- Vegetable Poha
- Carrot and Spinach Puri
- Makhana Kheer
- Dry Fruit Kheer
- Suji ka Halwa
- Wheat Halwa
- Tomato Paneer Rice
- Moong Dal Chilla
- Mango Shrikhand
- Beetroot And Carrot Raita
- Wheat Porridge
- Scrambled Eggs with vegetables
8. Make the food look attractive
It is quite common for toddlers and young children to refuse food. They sometimes find their food unappealing. To combat their feelings, explore your creative side and think about making the food look interesting to catch your child’s attention.
9. Make the eating session fun and interesting
Have you observed the energy level of your toddler while playing?
It is at a next level, right?
So, think about turning mealtime into play time.
Let the food become a prop.
Game No.1: Tell your little one that he is a superhero and he has to gulp the monster (food). Praise him each time he finishes the task.
Game No.2: Ask your little one to point out the object when you ask, ‘where is the clock’? ‘where is the fan’? or ‘where is the table’?
If he gets successful in telling, ask him to accept his prize (bite of his food).
Give a round of applause as he takes the bite in, and repeat the activity.
10. LET YOUR toddler Participate
Toddlers enjoy getting involved with their parents in day to day activities. Let your toddler participate with you in whole meal preparation session right from purchasing the groceries and veggies from the supermarket to chopping the vegetables, cooking the food and setting the table. Ask him to do simple things like picking up a vegetable, throwing the peels in the dustbin, passing the things, and setting the plates with you.
This can help your toddler in developing a positive attitude towards food (as he had a hand too in the preparation) and he might end up enjoying his meal like never before.
11. Give some time to toddler to accept food
If one day your picky toddler refused to eat a particular food then don’t think to drop down that food completely from his meal chart. It is very common for young children to take some time to accept a new taste, flavor, and texture. Try to give the same food the next day and the following days for a week before jumping into the conclusion that your child is intolerant to it.
Also Read : Why you must read books to your baby
12. Avoid offering rewards
Never bribe your toddler by saying ‘if you finish your food, you will get chocolate, candy or ice cream’. By doing this you are giving your fussy eater a feeling that he will get some ‘good food’ in return for finishing a ‘not so good food’.
Bribing your child might make it easy for you to make him finish his food but it will give an invitation to more problems in the future.
13. Don’t offer drinks just before the meal
Avoid giving milk or juice an hour before your child’s mealtime. These heavy drinks will fill his stomach and he will not be able to eat well.
14. Mind the gap between the meals
There must be at least 2-3 hours gap between the main meal and snacks. If the gap will be too less between the meals then naturally the baby will not be too hungry to finish his food.
15. Stop pleading and force-feeding
If your toddler has started refusing the food after eating a portion of it, don’t push him to finish everything on his plate. Never try to force feed or push the spoonfuls into his mouth. All this can create a stressful environment and can lead to your toddler feeling dreadful before meal times.
16. Stop replacing the food with snacks
You’d made so many attempts to feed your picky eater, but he is not ready to finish his food.
Now the next thought that comes to your mind as a considerate mom is that your baby is hungry so you should offer him something of his choice which at least fills his stomach.
This is where you go wrong!
These little munchkins are way smarter than we can imagine.
Your toddler knows that if he will throw tantrums during the meal time, he will surely get his favorite snack to eat.
17. Change the presentation of the food
If your picky toddler doesn’t like mashed potato then replace it with stuffed potato paratha or potato fries.
If he avoids eating paneer in the cubical form then think about giving him paneer scramble.
It is always a hit and trial thing with kids.
Change the way you present food to your toddler which he doesn’t like and observe if it makes any difference?
18. INVEST IN A FEEDING CHAIR
Develop good eating habits and table manners right from an early age. Invest in a good quality high chair to make your toddler comfortable while eating. Putting your toddler in a high chair before serving meal will prepare him mentally for his eating session and he will less likely to become cranky and fussy.
I bought Chicco Pocket Meal High Chair for my baby when I started weaning him (6 months +). That was also the time he was learning to sit on his own. I guess buying a high chair was one of the best investment I made on baby gears. High chair not only makes it easy to feed the baby but also provides safety to him while eating.
19. APPRECIATION AND APPLAUDE
Appreciate your little one for trying new food. If he finishes his meal without much hustle, give him a loving smile and applaud for his efforts.
If your child will relate your appreciation and applaud with finishing a meal then feeding sessions will not be a challenge anymore.
20. Consider the toddler’s mood
We get so overwhelmed to feed our munchkins that we forget to consider their willingness. Sometimes we adults also go through mood swings when we simply don’t feel like eating. This commonly happens with everyone be it an adult or a child.
Keep yourself calm. Don’t make a big deal out of the whole thing.
Give some time to your toddler and try again in the next meal.
Do you have any other idea to feed a picky toddler?
If yes, please share it below.
After all, sharing is caring, right?