The Challenges of Toddler Eating
It's quite common for toddlers to become more fussy about food. It may be because she doesn't like the texture, color or taste of the food. But it also may be a sign of exerting her independence—especially if he sees he gets a big reaction from his parents. Toddler's curious minds like to push the limits of authority, to see what will happen if they refuse to eat.
Another reason toddlers grow less interested in eating is because they have an exceptionally short attention span, and are always on the go. They just simply cant—or don't want to—sit down for long enough to consume a large quantity of food.
Certain foods may carry negative associations for your toddler. For example, if you fed your toddler potato when she was ill, she may be reluctant to eat it again.
Its perfectly natural for your toddler to only want to eat a couple of different foods, and this can go on for weeks (ugh!). This is a result of a protective instinct left over from our forefathers —a toddler will not consume an unfamiliar food unless she is sure that it is safe.
Here are some tips for coping with picky eating in toddlers:
- Offer your kid a variety of nutritious foods. If you are going to present the toddler with an unfamiliar food, offer it along with other foods that your toddler knows well. Only offer the new food in a small quantity, so as it doesn't overwhelm the kid.
- If your toddler seems to dislike a new food, keep trying! It may take as many as 20 exposures to a new food for a kid to decide whether or not they like the food. Offer it again in a few weeks, and you may get a different reaction.
- When your child is eating, create a positive, no-pressure environment. Allow her to leave the table when they feel full, rather than forcing them to eat more. Toddlers instinctively know how much food they need and there is no reason to push these limits.
- Give your toddler a couple of choices at mealtimes, but not so many that its overwhelming. Always include at least one favorite.
- Try making an unfamiliar food attractive by cutting sandwiches into fun shapes with cookie cutters, or by assembling the food into fun shapes on the plate.
- Offer your kid a variety of dipping sauces over time. Once they have a few favorites, you can offer an unfamiliar food along with your child's favorite dipping sauce.