Just when you've finally found a food you can count on your toddler eating they begin to reject it. That's typical for a toddler, but mealtimes can become a real ordeal when your toddler is fussy.
Approximately half of all toddlers have fussy eating habits, which means there's a one in two chance of yours becoming a picky eater. So remember this is normal - and you're not alone! These tips might help you through these 'trying' times!
Some tips to encourage fussy eaters
- Initially, organise your toddler’s meals around the times of the day they are hungry. A natural pattern will develop which you can then begin to set a routine to.
- 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.
- 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 15 tries before they’re accepted.
- Make sure their eating environment is kept calm and they’re concentrating on their meal – so no TV!
- Stick with small portions to start with and only give more if they’re still hungry.
- 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 fruit in their diet.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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*Weaning is recommended at around 6 months. Please speak with a healthcare professional before introducing solid foods.
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