Getting Picky Eaters to Eat
Picky eating and toddlerhood go together like peanut butter and jelly. Hour-long battles over untouched piles of broccoli may seem inevitable, but they don't have to be! Here are a few ways to to get your picky eater to eat:
- Warn 'em! To make the transition from playtime to mealtime seamless (or at least a little less of a battle), warn your kid 5 minutes before dinner that it's almost time to eat. And try to get him to do a quiet activity before suppertime. It'll be easier to get him to sit down if he's been doing a puzzle for the past 15 minutes and not hanging from the curtain rods.
- Do away with distractions! You might love eating in front of your fave episodes of Top Chef, but having the TV on during dinner can be really distracting for young kids. Ditto with toys, books and computers. Keep 'em all out of the dining room!
- Give choices! Offer at least one thing at every meal that you know your kid will eat. That way, if he snubs his nose at your homemade quiche, he won't go hungry. But don't get into the trap of becoming your two-foot foodie's short order cook. If you offer something you know he likes and he begs for something else, tough tootie.
- Enlist your little sous chef! If you can't beat 'em , get 'em to join you! Get your kid interested in eating by involving him in the prep process. Your kid will be much more excited about trying dinner if he's had a hand in making it.
- Trust your kid! If your toddler says he's full, take him at his word and don't make him finish his plate. Kids are really good self-regulators and will eat as much as they need. They also tend to go through periods where they eat a ton followed by seemingly semi-starvation periods. That's all totally normal so try not to stress if your kid seems to eat nothing. He's getting what he needs. Promise.
- Feed your kid when he's hungry! You might want your kid to wait for dinner time before chowing down, but if he's hungry 30 minutes earlier, feed him a healthy snack. Sure, it's totally annoying to be in the middle of cooking a big healthy meal only to have your kid demand food NOW, but better he eats when he's hungry than wait and lose his appetite. And obviously, if he eats right before dinner, don't be surprised if he doesn't finish his lasagna!