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How to Feed Your Picky Eating Toddler

by SarahD on September 23, 2010

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Methods for Feeding a Fussy Infant

Trying to feed your toddler can be like trying to get a hole-in-one playing golf. More food seems to get on you then in their mouth and you are always left with a big mess to clean up afterward. Moms are always determined to get their children to try their dinner concoctions, yet if you are dealing with a picky eater, this may be more difficult than you imagined. And you thought having a toddler was hard enough. Now you are faced with a dilemma: trying to figure out how to feed your picky eater.

Between ages one and three, children grow rapidly, tripling their birth weight every year. Once a child has reached the toddler phase, they are no longer experiencing rapid growth like they did right after being born. This explains why toddlers are terrible eaters: they need less food. The world often appears more exciting than the food on their plates and a toddler’s attention is hard to maintain. Snacking throughout the day can be a more logical approach to a toddler’s life on the go and caters to their short attention span.

Sometimes the key to feeding your toddler can be creativity. Being open to a constantly changing diet will help give your child the nutrition he or she needs. If your toddler will eat fruits one day and vegetables another, take what you can get while you still can. Expect inconsistency when dealing with a picky toddler. A toddler’s appetite will vary dramatically from day to day. Instead of aiming for a nutritional day, view things on a weekly basis. This will help you make reasonable goals and will also keep you from becoming discouraged. Don’t force your child to eat anything because he or she will only resist more. Instead, try your best to encourage your picky eater and stay optimistic by realizing it is only a phase all children go through.

A good tactic for dealing with a picky eater is by offering bite-sized servings of food. Toddlers are not big eaters and often prefer nibbling on their food throughout the day. By giving them a series of options, the food may appear more appetizing. Plus, they can sample the food at their leisure and may enjoy having their own designated plate for food. Making the experience enjoyable is the key to successfully feeding your picky toddler. Try creating silly names for bananas, or cereal that your child will enjoy reciting. This will help your child develop a positive associate with food, which will inevitably help him or her enjoy eating more. It is also important to place any food in an accessible location for your child. Consider buying a small table that your child can play at while eating his or her food.

Sometimes the best way to entice your picky eater is through a series of delectable dips. Every toddler loves making a mess of food by dipping it in its designated sauce. Try a wide array of dips that will help give your child the nutrients he needs. Cottage cheese, or yogurt may not seem like obvious choices, yet if it gets the job done, everyone ends up happy. Experiment by providing an assortment of ranch, or cream cheese on a plate and serve some vegetables alongside it. Observe your child eating to determine which sauces he or she prefers.

Being a parent sometimes means rolling with the punches. If your child does not want to eat carrots, be creative and consider making him, or her a smoothie instead. It is your responsibility to stay relaxed and patient when dealing with a picky toddler. It may not be your idea of fun to entice your toddler with food art, or to disguise every vegetable with a myriad of sauces. Just remember it is only a phase and will pass with time.

Sarah Danielson is a writer for culinary arts schools where you can browse schools and the latest trends in the culinary arena.

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  4. Potty Training Tips for Your Toddler
  5. Toddler Development Milestones

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