I’m no toddler feeding expert, but I read when James was a baby that children pick up their picky habits between year 1 and 2. So with James, I worked very hard to help him learn to eat all kinds of good food when he was 1. I’m doing the same with Nathan.
This doesn’t mean he willingly chows down everything but he’s a pretty good eater.
Here are some of my ideas~
1. Offer things multiple times~just because a child refuses once doesn’t mean they won’t eat it another time. When I’m offering a food that he hasn’t eaten or tried, I just set it on his plate. I don’t make him eat it. Sometimes just having it present often makes it familiar and then they may try it.
2. Find a divided plate and put things in each section. Bonus points if it’s a cute plate that interests the baby. Sometimes for a treat, I put the muffin tin on his tray and just put bits of things in the different sections. He gets really excited about this. I haven’t done it for awhile–need to try it again.
3. Make the food look appetizing~consider different colors and textures. Offer a brightly colored fruit or veggie to make the plate or tray look nice. I’m not talking about cutting radish roses or anything.
4. Offer new tastes all the time~I offer baby new things on a fairly regular basis. I don’t want him to get stuck in a rut of just a few foods he will eat–even if they are good for him foods.
5. If you don’t want your toddler eating chicken nuggets and French fries a great idea is to never offer them chicken nuggets and French fries. I’m a firm believer in not letting baby get a taste for junk food. Offer them good healthy food and they will learn to eat it. I hear people complaining that a toddler will only eat hot dogs. I always wonder who offered the baby hot dogs in the first place. They can’t serve themselves. It’s up to us to offer them lots of good and different things to try all the time.
6. Sprinkle things with cinnamon or nutmeg or garlic powder~make things taste yummy. Nathan asks for “cinnun” if I forget to sprinkle it on his yogurt.
7. Offer healthy dips for veggies or other things you offer baby~hummus and yogurt are good ideas. I haven’t tried salsa or a healthy ranch but those are options too.
8. Try freezing things~Nathan loves frozen fruit cut into bite size pieces. I imagine they seem a bit like a popsicle. **make sure to cut in very small pieces to avoid a choking hazard**
9. Try shredding things~I was making something with zucchini the other day and as I shredded it, I popped a spoonful onto his plate. He ate it all up. I think perhaps offering things in a different form makes them seem new.
10. Try rolling things~I’ve been rolling a piece of turkey lunch meat around a small pickle slice and baby gobbles them right down. Make roll ups with tortillas too.
11. Pretend their meal is yours and I guarantee they’ll be begging to eat it! Ha right?
12. Make use of the smoothie~I’ve mentioned this before. Baby loves smoothies. I use kefir, berries, bananas, and sometimes add a half an avocado or chunk of sweet potatoes or some cooked carrots. Baby will never know the difference and they get lots of good nutrients in their body.
13. Don’t sweeten things for baby~ a sweet tooth happens naturally. It doesn’t need any encouragement. I serve plain yogurt with unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas stirred in. We buy all-fruit jam for baby. I don’t offer him sweet treats very often.
14. Offer lots of water to drink~don’t start on the juice roller coaster. Offer water in their cup or milk if you choose. Get fruits in them in smoothies or chunks of fruit on their plate.
I try to pin fun healthy kid food ideas on my Pinterest board. Check it out if you’re looking for some good ideas. I’ll try to remember to post some of his meal ideas one of these days!
If you have any ideas, tips, or Pinterest boards for toddler food ideas please share!