Toddler Eating Habits

Your toddler is more interested in discovering new things in his new world than he is in sitting down to eat. Sitting in his high chair is step one but now you have to get him to eat.

Toddlers are a bit suspicious of new foods and may have one word for them “No” or you may have a potential basketball player or baseball pitcher when your darling knocks the food onto the floor. We actually had a bet as to when, not if, our little one was going to side swipe her cup onto the floor.

Here are a few tips on making meal time more enjoyable for both you and your little one.

  1. Be a good role model:
    Toddlers imitate us, for example wearing your shoes or talking on your cell phone. So if your toddler sees you eating fish or chicken and fruits and vegetables while avoiding junk foods, he is most likely to follow your lead.
  2. Listen to the clues:
    Some days your toddler may not eat very much so do not force or use food as a reward. “If you eat this, I will give you a surprise”. Or do not say “Just one more bite”. When your toddler is done he is done. If he does not eat everything on his plate most of the time, serve smaller servings. Give nutritious snacks in between meals. Also, do not keep candy, cookies etc. around for your toddler to snack on.
  3. Keep offering new foods:
    Do not be disappointed if your toddler does not say Yum, Yum to your favorite vegetable. Tastes take time for a toddler to develop. Just keep serving that veggie once a week as well as introducing new fruits and veggies now and then.
  4. Have family meals:
    If you have older children, the family should sit down for dinner together but sometimes due to activities it becomes impossible. Have a Sunday brunch or a pizza night once a week with the whole family so your toddler is not eating alone all the time. If you have just one child try to have breakfast or your evening meal together with Daddy or grandma.
  5. Be careful of milk and juice:
    Milk and juice are healthy in a toddler’s diet but more than 16 – 24 ounces of milk and more than six ounces of juice every day may fill your toddler up so they are not hungry. Guard against this by offering water or watered down juice.
  6. Food jag:
    You can let your toddler go on a food “jag” (wanting the same food for every meal) as long as it is not cookies or candy. Don’t stress, just continue offering healthy options and wait for his eating jag to stop.

I think the people that bought our home, after having four children, are still finding cheerios, a big time favorite for all of my kids when they were toddlers.

Enjoy this time in your life with your little ones. It really is the easiest time in the rearing of your darlings.

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