Let’s face it, most toddlers are picky eaters and it can be a stressful job trying to make sure they are consuming all the “right” nutrients. I don’t claim to be an expert or have the magic potion to make your toddler eat a bowl of kale but here are some tips that seem to be working for my little guy (17 months)!
1. Prep their palate early.
Did you know that exclusively breastfed babies tend to be less picky as eaters later in life? The flavor of your breastmilk changes depending on what you eat which exposes your baby to a variety of flavors from day one. Also, waiting until 6 months to introduce any solids has been shown to reduce food aversions. (Read more here)
2. Don’t push the issue.
Forcing your toddler to eat can backfire. Don’t let them develop a negative association with eating or sitting in their highchair. As soon as they start throwing food or pushing food away, it’s time to take a break. Perhaps they aren’t hungry or they’re just not in the sitting and eating kind of mood.
3. Keep offering.
Don’t assume that if they spit something out the first try that they hate that particular food. Sometimes it takes up to 10 tries for them to really decide if it’s a yay or a nay for their tiny tastebuds. Sometimes, they just need to get past the texture or color. So keep offering those greens even if you need to disguise them.
4. Let them graze.
My toddler eats best when allowed to graze. If they don’t eat well at one particular meal, make sure to leave little healthy snacks out for them to grab as they desire.
5. Skip the kid’s menu.
When eating out, skip the mac & cheese or other fried junk. Instead, order a meal for yourself and share! This will help expand their taste buds and let’s be honest food from someone else’s plate always tastes better, right? You’ll be surprised that they may love your wasabi encrusted salmon or spicy Thai curry shrimp.
Here are a few of my go-to recipes that are seriously simple:
Banana “Pancakes” – simply mash 1/2 a large banana and mix with 1 egg and a dash of cinnamon. Cook like a pancake and enjoy! The banana makes them taste sweet, so no syrup or added sugar is even needed!
Green Mac & “Cheese” – swap your usual Mac & Cheese for whole wheat penne pasta and mashed avocado. The creamy avocado makes for the perfect cheese-like mixture.
Green Smoothie – if you’re having trouble getting veggies in your toddlers diet, try them in a smoothie! Blend 1/2 a frozen banana, 5 chunks of frozen mango, 1 cup of spinach/kale mix and blend with almond milk or juice of your choice! Also, great opportunity to blend in any multi-vitamin or omega/DHA supplements you may be trying to sneak in their diet.
What are some of your tips/tricks or go-to toddler approved recipes?