Getting your temperamental toddler to eat right isn’t exactly a piece of cake. Here are some suggestions for making mealtime less of a struggle for both of you.
- Finger foods often lend themselves to fewer melt-down meals and foster more independent eating. Consider pasta shapes, cut-up veggies and kabob or stir-fry style cuts of meat for easy eating.
- Variety is the spice of good eating. Offer kids a plate containing choices representing each of the food groups. They’ll be more likely to eat a balanced meal.
- When creating a meal, look to the rainbow. A plate containing a wide color palette of grains, fruits and vegetables offers tremendous vitamins and minerals and is visually more interesting to young eyes.
- Get them involved. Let kids help shop for dinner ingredients or assist with meal preparation (little ones can wash/dry lettuce leaves or measure out rice or pasta). They are more likely to eat something they’ve helped you to cook or had a part in selecting.
- Don’t give up on food that a child refuses. If you continue to offer a particular food over time, he may find some version of it that he likes.
- Do not shame a child for not eating a particular food. Instead, share your own experiences of discovering a food to be delicious that you used to dislike.
- Understand that this process of adapting to new foods doesn’t stop at the toddler stage, but continues all the way through to the teenage years and beyond.
- Lead by example and sit down when eating. Kids won’t understand the concept of taking time to chew and digest their food if their parents are wolfing down breakfast while standing.