Ten tips to help your toddler not be so picky at meal time, plus facts about your toddler’s nutrition you may not know.
A special thanks to Enfagrow for sponsoring this post. All tips, ideas, experiences, and meal time battles happen and are learned right here in our home.
Toddlers. I often tell people that my daughter is at the cutest AND most frustrating age ever. Between 1-3 they learn so much! Everything that comes out of their mouth is adorable. Their little faces are hanging on to the last signs of the baby chub and still have the roundness that defines childhood innocence. They learn to laugh with you, hug you, give kisses and really love you.
BUT they also start to want independence. They like to make their own decisions. Many times very bad decisions like jumping off the couch or licking the bathroom floor. They want to be a big person. Have independance. Define their own person. Basically this sounds innocent but in action is every mother’s worst nightmare.
Nothing can create more drama and be more of a power struggle than meal time with my toddler. One day we like it. The next we don’t. One time my toddler ate three entire oranges, but since has refused to ouch them. Why do they universally love chicken nuggets? I don’t even think those little morsels that are chopped up and reformed into natural looking shapes like oh say, dinosaurs or Mickey Mouse even taste very good! Why is it that my kids will never tire of a a cheese quesadilla but won’t touch a green bean with a 10 foot pole?
Yes nothing can cause more anxiety, create more battles, and end with more frustration than meal time with a toddler. And depending on the day you can look at what is served on my toddler’s plate and it will tell you how much energy I have to deal with it haha!
This is my second time around the block now though, so I have learned a few tips and tricks to getting a healthy meal in my little. Here are some tips that help me:
- Make meal times planned and regular. Children thrive on routine and expectations. When they know them, life is easier!
- Offer choices: If they are involved in deciding what they want, it helps them feel like they have some power and then they don’t need to exert it by saying no to what you offer.
- Involve them in making the meal. Obviously sometimes this isn’t possible, but when they can help do simple things like wash the fruit, or spread the peanut butter they feel accomplishment and pride in what they did and it helps them want to eat what is put on their plate. Really, it’s magical!
- Give only one meal. If they don’t like it and don’t want to eat it then that is okay, but it will be the only breakfast/lunch/dinner that will be offered. If a toddler knows that when they don’t like option one, you will eventually come out with option two, they will prove far more willpower than one thought humanly possible. And chances are they will break you. Every. Single. Time.
- Limit snacks. Snacks can be great and are many times appropriate. Know when meal time is though and make sure your child is hungry when they get to the table. It is much easier for a toddler to be picky when they aren’t really very hungry since they just filled their little tummy up with snacks not long ago.
- Make meal time fun! Toddlers thrive on attention and when you make meal time about sharing stories, jokes, and interaction it will become something your whole family enjoys and looks forward to. Resist the temptation to turn on the tv and zone out during meal time!
- Reintroduce foods multiple times. One day they like it and the next they don’t. Toddlers might just be more fickle than teenaged girls at a dance. Just because a food is turned down or refused once doesn’t mean they won’t like it the next time you introduce it. Even if they they refuse it multiple times in a row, it doesn’t mean they will never eat it. The more a child sees something the more comfortable they become with it so keep trying and eventually you can celebrate the day it pays off!
- Serve items in small portions. Sometimes large quantities of things can be overwhelming to little eyes, so try giving small quantities of things on the plate and refilling as needed.
- Serve the most important things first. Or I might should say, the things your child is most likely to be picky about. As we talked about before, the more hungry your toddler is the less picky they will be. If you are having a sandwich fruit and goldfish for lunch, you might start by serving the sandwich, then the fruit and last the goldfish.
- Find new and fun ways to make meal time fun. Maybe you make blueberry pancakes after reading about Curious George making them. Use cookie cutters to cut fruits and veggies into fun shapes. Challenge them to eat a food of each color while you are talking about rainbows.
By no means am I an expert. I hold no advanced degrees in child anything. I am just a mom that feels like I have fought every table-side battle there is and come up with what works for us. Some might make sense and some might sound quirky but hopefully you take a tip or two that makes meal time more fun again.
No matter how hard you try and how successful you are the truth is that some key nutrients are particularly hard to get from the foods toddlers typically eat. A person’s brain experiences 85% of it’s growth in the first 3 years of life. DHA is one of the nutrients that is hard to get in your toddler’s diet and it is also an omega-3 fatty acid and an important building block for the brain. Because of the rapid growth in the brain it is important to maintain recommended levels of DHA through these crucial brain building years. You can learn much MUCH more about DHA here.
One way we found that makes bridging this gap in nutrition super easy is introducing Enfagrow Toddler Transitions and Next Step as a nutritional supplement. Kind of like when you take a vitamin, it is a great way to know that no matter what did or didn’t get eaten by your toddler that day, important nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and iron for healthy growth, a prebiotics blend, designed to help support digestive health, and of course priceless DHA are all still getting into their tiny but rapidly developing bodies. You can learn more about Enfagrow Toddler Transitions and Next Step here.
And does she like it? The smile says it all! She thinks it is her special big girl treat!
Is your little one a picky eater? What are your best tips? How do you make sure their nutritional needs are met?
Would you love to try out Enfagrow with your growing toddler? Leave a comment below for your chance to win a prize package including
- One Toddler Transitions Can (21oz.)
- One Toddler Next Step Natural Milk Flavor Can (24oz.)
Giveaway will be open from Tuesday, September 30 to Saturday, October 11. See full terms and conditions here.
NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES AND D.C. 18 YEARS AND OLDER ARE WHO ALREADY HAVE INTERNET ACCESS AND VALID E-MAIL ADDRESSES ARE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion begins 9/30/2014 at 12:00 AM PST and ends at 11:59 PM PST on 10/11/2014. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Official Rules, eligibility, prize descriptions and odds disclosure are available at http://www.thesitsgirls.com/sweepstakes-official-rules/ . Sponsor: Mead Johnson & Company, LLC, 2400 West Lloyd Expressway, Evansville, IN 47721.
I received compensation and free Enfagrow for this post. Enfagrow would be happy to help you with your question. Please contact them at 1-800-BABY-123
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Enfagrow.