Now that your child is past the 1 year mark you may start to notice a change in their willingness to eat certain foods or at certain times of the day. At this point it can start to become a lot harder to introduce new foods and keep a healthy variety in your toddler’s diet. To address the problem first it is important to understand why your child has started to become a picky eater.
Why is my Toddler a Picky Eater?
When a toddler refuses to eat something they are trying to show their independence. Whether he had a bad experience with the food before or just doesn’t like the look of it, your child is just trying to start making some decisions on his own. It is important to respect these decisions and to not make feeding time a battleground, so that he will remain cooperative and try new foods later on. One important thing to remember is that this is completely normal for toddlers. Now that your child’s growth and development is slowing down they simply will not need as much food as they did when they were an infant. With all of this considered it can be much harder to continue to get your toddler to eat healthily, so we have compiled a list of some of the tips we found most helpful to get your picky eater eating healthy and trying new things.
1. Keep your toddler on a routine
Part of the problem with picky eaters is that they just aren’t always hungry. By keeping set feeding times in the day your toddler is more likely to eat when they are actually hungry and to not over snack between meals. Doctor’s typically recommend that your toddler eat 3 meals a day with a snack in between each meal. For more information on how to properly set up a healthy meal plan for your toddler, please see our article here (LINK).
2. Introduce new foods one at a time and in small amounts
You do not want to overwhelm your toddler with a whole plate full of new food he has never seen before. To make trying new foods more relaxing, simply place the new food in front of your toddler with some older favorites and let them explore on their own. It is important to make sure that your toddler always has at least one food on his plate that you know he likes.
3. Don’t give up on new foods right away
Sometimes it may take a few times introducing a food to a toddler before they are ready to try it. By exposing your baby to new food several times it gives them a chance to get more comfortable with it.
4. Introduce new foods when you know your toddler is hungry and happy
If you know that your toddler typically is hungrier at a certain time of the day that is typically the best time to introduce new foods. It also helps if your child is in a good mood which helps them stay more open to new things.
5. Add nutrition to meals you know he likes
By being a little sneaky you can add nutrition to many of your child’s favorite meals without them throwing a fuss. Something as simple as adding fruit chunks to cereal or pureed vegetables to a pasta sauce can go a long way to maintaining a healthy diet for your picky eater.