Navigating Food Challenges with Your Toddler

Navigating Food Challenges with Your Toddler

Being a parent is hard work at times, but it's also absolutely wonderful - those challenges won't seem like so much of an issue as time goes by. But that doesn't mean they're not a problem in the here and now, and toddler eating habits can be a real sticking point that many parents find particularly worrying. The good news is that you don't have to worry; there are lots of ways to get past the issue and stop the struggle altogether. Read on to find out more.


Why Are Children Picky Eaters?

It seems as though everyone believes toddlers are picky eaters, and because it's so widely documented, it's just something we're all meant to accept. The problem is that just accepting that toddlers don't like trying new food and won't sit down to eat with the rest of the family simply enables this behaviour, and it will become harder and harder to put things right later on. 

The truth is that it's natural for kids to be picky eaters - they're trying new things, and their taste buds are developing - but that doesn't mean you can't help move things along, which is what we'll explore next. 

Make Mealtimes Positive 

One of the best things you can do when it comes to navigating food challenges with your toddler is to make sure mealtimes are positive, come what may. Make the atmosphere an enjoyable one, switch off the TV, take the toys out of the room so there aren't any distractions, and so on. Sit down as a family, and your toddler can see how well you behave at the table and what you're eating, and that good example is sure to register with them over time. 

Offer A Variety Of Foods

Perhaps stating the obvious, but toddlers are far more likely to try new things if there are lots of new things to try! That's why it's a great idea to give them a range of fruit, vegetables and proteins, and to be creative with how you cook them and present them. If your little one rejects something, try not to be disheartened and try again because it can take a few attempts for them to accept something new. 

Be Patient And Persistent 

Patience really is the key to dealing with picky eaters, and as frustrating as it might be, you've got to do it. If you can stay calm and avoid any power struggles when it comes to food, you'll make things a lot easier and reduce the chance of your child developing eating issues later on. Choices are great, as we've mentioned, as they give your toddler more control, but you will also need to set limits. 

Avoid Pressure And Bribes

Pressuring your toddler to eat or using bribes to get them to put something in their mouth or finish food they don't like can really backfire, and it can give your little one negative associations with food and mealtimes that they might never quite shake off. It's far better to focus on giving them plenty of nutritious options and letting your toddler decide how much to eat - they'll know when they're full.

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