Many parents deal with a picky toddler during their child’s development. Most children, when they are young, have very limited diets. They may not be a picky eater, but rather they’re only comfortable eating a few things. Here are some tips for introducing new foods to your toddler.
Introduce New Foods Gradually
You do not want to overwhelm your child with one meal. You should have a firm understanding of what your child eats, but during a couple of weekly dinners, add something new to the plate. Start with asking your toddler to try one bite versus an entire plate.
You can also get creative when introducing food to your child. For instance, if your child does not like peas, add a few peas next to the chicken nuggets. Make it a small portion at first so that the amount of vegetables to eat does not seem as daunting.
Find a Proper Time to Correct Food Choices
Home can be a better space to correct food choices than out in public. There could be several reasons why your child doesn’t want to eat something. It’s possible that he or she actually doesn’t like the taste of something, or he or she is not hungry. Work through correcting food choices at your own dinner table, rather than getting upset if your child doesn’t want to eat when you are out.
Avoid Making Multiple Meals
You may be tempted to make two meals for every dinner; one for your toddler and one for everyone else. Not only is this too much work for you, but it also reinforces the want to be picky. Instead, try to make meals where your child can have a say in what he or she eats. For example, you can make a spaghetti dinner with sauce on the side. That way everyone else can enjoy pasta while your toddler eats plain spaghetti.
Alternatively, if you are introducing something new to your child, include something else on the plate that your child is familiar with. He or she may feel more inclined to try something new if they recognize a familiar food.
Give Praise When Praise is Due
When your child is ready to eat vegetables, give him or her plenty of praise no matter how small or big the bite is. However, avoid praise based on emotions. Say something such as, “It is fantastic how you ate the broccoli,” instead of, “I am so happy you ate your broccoli.” You do not want your child to think your emotions and his or her food choices go hand in hand.
Make Eating Fun
One reason why your child may not try certain foods is because he or she does not know all the work that went into it or isn’t familiar with the ingredients. Bring your toddler to the store and include him or her in meal prep. A simple task like tearing lettuce into pieces is a perfect age-appropriate way to help in the kitchen.
As you prepare meals, offer your child a little taste. The fact you have turned it into a fun activity may make her more willing to taste new foods. Additionally, you should bring your child grocery shopping with you to help her understand the start to finish process of making a meal.
It is understandable to feel frustrated if your toddler is picky about eating. Fortunately, this is a great age to introduce new foods as his or her world begins to expand. As your child becomes more comfortable with eating, try these family-friendly recipes to spark a passion for food!