As your baby grows, so does their independence. You’ll notice a change in their food likes and dislikes. It’s normal, and things will change. All you need is persistence and patience!
Remember, you’re not alone! Many toddlers become fussy eaters. Here are some tips to encourage them.
Plan Meal Times
Try to organise your toddler’s meals around the times of the day they usually are hungry. A natural pattern will develop, which you can then begin to set a routine to.
Don’t Rush Them
Let your child eat at their own pace and don’t try and insist that the plate is cleared. Rushing your toddler through a meal puts pressure on them which can reduce their appetite and come across as fussiness.
Don’t Give Up!
If your toddler has refused a food once, don’t give up. You can try reintroducing it again in a few days’ time. Some new foods need up to 10 tries before they’re accepted. Let them see you trying the food, and enjoying it, then ask them if they would like to try!
Make sure their eating environment is kept calm and they’re concentrating on their meal – so no TV!
A Little Goes a Long Way
Stick with small portions to start with, and only give more if they’re still hungry.
Oh No, Not Vegetables!
A vegetable aversion is one of the most common food fads in toddlers – and one that causes parents a lot of stress. One quick fix is to ensure that you include lots of different vegetables in their diet.
Like Mother Like Baby
Having family meals with your toddler can really help if their natural hunger pattern coincides with your regular mealtimes. Even though every toddler is different, some young children copy the behaviour of other people, so if you are enjoying a healthy meal, your toddler may well watch and learn from what you’re doing. Even if they have already eaten, sitting with the family, and observing you enjoying healthy foods is a good influence for your toddler.
Give your toddler praise when they finish a meal or enjoy a healthy snack. It’s also a good idea to talk about the food you enjoy. Things like ‘yum yum this apple is gorgeous’ or ‘this spinach is great’ to emphasise the foods you’d like them to enjoy.
Patience Always Prevails!
The most important thing is to try to be patient! It might seem like your toddler’s tastes are changing by the day, but it’s important to persevere and make sure they get a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet. If you’re still concerned consult your baby’s doctor.