INTRODUCING NEW FOODS TO YOUR PICKY TODDLER CAN BE FRUSTRATING – USE THESE TIPS TO HELP YOUR AT MEAL TIME.
Transitioning from baby food to real food can be a struggle for any parent, especially when you have a picky toddler. Children tend to get more picky as they age, and there are a few reasons for this behavior that can help one understand the process of their child exploring new foods. Make dinner time a little less stressful with this information and these tips.
WHY Your Toddler Is Picky
A blog post by This Happy Busy Life explains the various reasons your toddler may be having a hard time adjusting to new foods. The first has to do with growth rate. The first 12 months of a babies life, they are growing at a rapid pace, meaning their calorie intake is much higher. After this first year, that rate decreases, and so does their calorie intake, making their appetite curbed.
There is also an increase in activity and a decrease in attention span. Toddlers are in a learning, exploitative stage at this age and would rather be running around than sitting in their high-chair for dinner. This Happy Busy Life suggests feeding your child throughout the day rather than holding them to strict meal times. But don’t throw the family planned meals out the window either. Small snacking to get your child to eat a little more is great, but make sure you’re giving enough time between snacks and meals so they are ready to eat come lunch or dinner.
Much like getting your child to bed, it is important to stay calm and have a positive attitude when trying to feed your toddler. Your energy will reflect theirs, so if you show your frustration, they are much less likely to cooperate, making it even more difficult. Try having back up foods that you know your child will eat ready so if things get chaotic, you can divert to plan B.
Serving a variety of food will help with this as well. If there’s one thing your child likes a lot, you can always serve them more, and vice versa for the things that don’t work out. If you only cook one thing and your picky toddler doesn’t like it, they won’t eat much and will end up hungry soon after.
Teach Food Appreciation
Introducing food to your toddler outside of a meal-setting can help them understand food and develop an appreciation for food diversity. If you’re grocery shopping with your toddler, walk through the fresh produce aisles and have them pick out a couple things they like to try and snack on at home. They will get a sense of responsibility for choosing their dinner and will have a lot of fun learning new foods in the process.
Your child’s health is important, and nutritious foods go a long way in mental and physical development. Keep at it and eventually your toddler will be adventurous! For more tips on how to pack a nutritious lunch for your toddler, read our blog post here!