At times, trying to get your toddler to eat can be as futile as trying to push water uphill with a rake. Not to worry, we’re here to help you in this sisyphean task. If mealtimes are contentious in your household, you’re not alone. Many parents worry about what their children eat — and don’t eat. Until your child’s food preferences mature, consider these tips for preventing mealtime battles.
Cook with them – Even if it’s something simple like stirring, toddlers are typically more likely to eat a meal if they participate in its creation.
Be creative – use cookie cutters to make fun sandwich shapes, serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce, offer breakfast foods for dinner, and serve a variety of brightly colored foods.
Play the opposite game – Our little ones often love doing something they aren’t supposed to. So, make it seem like you don’t want them to eat the meal and they might gobble it right up.
Stick to the routine- Serve meals and snacks at roughly the same times every day. If your child chooses not to eat a meal, a regular snack time will offer an opportunity to eat nutritious food. You can provide milk or 100 percent juice with the food, but offer water between meals and snacks. Allowing your child to fill up on juice, milk, or snacks throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.
Don’t be a short-order cook- Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original one can reinforce their picky eating habits. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn’t eat.
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