Many parents are familiar with the challenge of getting children to eat certain foods. Toddlers can be especially stubborn during their transition from baby food to a normal diet. Luckily, child care experts have developed a few strategies you can use to ensure your little one is eating healthy. The following tips will help you introduce your toddler to new foods.
How to Convince Your Toddler to Eat
1. Be Flexible With Portions
Larger helpings of new foods can be intimidating for children, so start their portions off small. If they’re still hungry, they’ll ask for more on their own. Child care experts warn that forcing kids to eat can create negative associations with food and result in dietary self-control issues in the future. Kids pressured to eat fruits and vegetables from a young age will be more likely to have a higher fat intake later on in life.
2. Get Creative in the Kitchen
Many children believe they don’t like vegetables, but with a bit of creativity in the kitchen, you can prove them wrong. Mix vegetables into dishes they like to provide their daily recommended nutrients. For instance, you can add greens to smoothies, pasta, omelets, mac and cheese, and stir-fry. You can even ask your toddler for assistance with simple steps like measuring out ingredients. They’ll feel a sense of pride in their work and may be more likely to try a meal they helped make.
3. Give Your Child a Choice
Next time you go grocery shopping, give your child a few options for fruits, veggies, snacks, and meals, and let them choose their favorites from your curated lists. This method ensures your toddler is getting the nutrients they need while allowing them to make their own choices. You can foster independence and help your little one be a better decision-maker.
4. Avoid Bribes & Negotiations
For tired parents who just want their child to eat, it can be tempting to bribe them with sweets after dinner. However, studies demonstrate that framing desserts as rewards can significantly increase a child’s preference for sweets, encouraging an inclination toward sugary, unhealthy foods. Limit desserts to a few select nights a week, or try to incorporate healthy ingredients like fruit, nuts, and yogurt.
5. Practice Patience
Helping your toddler expand their palette can be a challenge, but it’s important for parents to be patient. Most picky eaters will grow out of the habit naturally, and in the meantime, you just need to make sure they’re eating a balanced diet. It may take a few introductions for your little one to try something new.
Choose a child care center that promotes healthy habits for your toddler. At Tiny World Child Care, children develop social, physical, creative, cognitive, and bilingual skills in a safe, nurturing environment. Serving families throughout Brookline, MA, they offer enriching early childhood programs for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Your child will find their second home as they make new friends and learn through play and exploration. For more information about their child care programs, visit them online or call (617)-232-0115.