Feeding Picky Toddler

Is your toddler being fussy about eating what’s served on his plate? Worry not, it’s a tale of every household. As toddlers hit the one-year-old mark, they start understanding what goes on their plate. Chances are your previously voracious eater might also turn into a picky one. But as a parent, you shouldn’t give up. Your aim is to feed and nurture your child so that he can lead a healthy lifestyle.

Feeding a picky toddler might look like a task. But understanding whether your picky eater is having enough or too little and the reasons behind, can help you resolve this task. So, keep on reading to discover tips for feeding picky eaters and more!

Why Is My 1-Year-Old Eating Less?

As your toddler hits the one-year-old mark, he is more inclined towards activities like walking or playing rather than eating. In his mind, he has little to no time to spend eating. In the second year, as your child grows at a slightly slower pace, his appetite also decreases appropriately. This means long meals won’t be a part of his routine this year. That being said, one-year-old picky eaters need the energy to keep going. Otherwise, they are likely to throw tantrums and become irritated quickly. The best option here is to give them five to six meals throughout the day, along with two or three healthy snacks.

While feeding your picky toddler, make sure to serve a very small portion and then add more if required. Too much food on the plate might overwhelm your fussy eating toddler and can make him leave the table quickly.

Is My Toddler Eating Enough?

Because it's so hard to pin him down, every bite counts for a busy toddler. Empty calories in cookies, sweets, or juice are a waste of your child's time and appetite. Check out these tips on healthy snacks for toddlers. If you or your child’s doctor thinks your toddler needs to consume more calories, you'll need to look at increasing the nutritional value of every bite rather than increasing the amount he eats. Offer your child nutritious food at your regular mealtimes as well, but don't force him to eat. Young children who are allowed to decide for themselves when to stop eating grow up to have much healthier eating habits. Your job is to be sure that healthy, appealing foods are offered regularly and in the same eating place. Your child is in charge of whether or not to eat at that time. If he passes once, he'll be hungrier at the next scheduled time. Read here to know more about the best

Top Tips for Feeding Toddlers who are Picky Eater

1. Don’t Force a Meal

If your toddler isn’t hungry or dislikes certain foods, don’t force him to eat. This might lead to anxious eating behaviour. Likewise, he might say that he is full just to avoid eating those foods. Hence, it’s best to feed your picky eaters at their own pace. Read about a balanced vegetarian diet for toddlers

2. Create A Routine and Stick to It

If your toddler is fussy about eating, having a routine can do wonders. This means you should serve meals and snacks at a set time during the day. This will train your toddler’s body and make him feel hungry at those particular intervals. In case your toddler rejects eating food, you can satisfy his appetite by offering healthy snacks, milk or fruit juices.

3. Make It Fun and Creative

Try adding colourful veggies to your toddler’s plate. It can easily hold your toddler’s attention and could make him curious to try it out. Another way to make mealtime fun is by cutting the foods into different shapes. It keeps your child entertained and promotes hunger.

4. Introduce New Foods Patiently

Whenever a toddler sees a new food, they tend to pick it up and probably put a piece of it in their mouth. Chances are they might immediately remove it from their mouth. As it’s something new, repeated exposure can help them to understand that it’s yummy and meant to be eaten. Thus, make sure to introduce new foods by describing the shape, colour, texture to your child rather than how tasty it is. Read on how to get your child to try new foods

5. Keep Distractions Away

Say no to phones or any electronic devices on the dining table. Turn off the television during meals as it can easily distract your picky eater. Instead, have conversations at the table and encourage healthy family time.

6. Please Be Seated

No matter how little your toddler eats, make him sit down at regular mealtimes. This will teach him to eat meals when they are served. On the other hand, toddlers love to eat at the table with family around. This can also help in promoting table manners and help him learn more about socialising. In case, your child starts resting food or becoming cranky, set him down or give him a book to read.

7. Partner Up

Take your toddler to the grocery shop and let him pick his favourite fruits and veggies. This will encourage him to eat more as he himself has picked those up.

8. The Big Mess

Your child learns a lot from "playing" with her food. Dropping food on the floor, squeezing it, and smearing it are all ways she learns about food and how to enjoy eating it. She probably can't use a spoon well, but she should have one anyway, for practice. Toddlers want to feed themselves, and you should encourage it by letting them, no matter how messy they are. Your tot may also be learning how to use a cup; again, this means a lot of spills. Your best option is to learn to live with the mess by using (and wearing) easy-to-clean materials.

The Bottom Line

Feeding your picky toddler can be a little tricky. But patience and consistency can help you score a win! Besides, setting up good eating habits can also help in transforming your fussy eating tot into a voracious eater. In case, your child is putting up a fight about food then you must consult your child’s doctor about giving him a baby vitamin. Make sure you don’t give him adult vitamins as they are not good for your child.

Broadly speaking, this fussy behaviour for one to three-year-olds is quite normal. As your child is trying to take charge of his appetite, it may take some time. Soon enough, you will witness a happy and healthy child who loves to indulge in good foods.