How to Help Your Picky Toddler Eat
I can’t be the only one whose toddler doesn’t eat. In fact I know I’m not because as I worriedly asked my doctor why my little girl doesn’t eat, she chuckled and said that’s pretty normal. She told me toddlers are kind of like camels, and some days they’ll eat pretty good and store up, and other days they’ll only drink chocolate milk.
Occasionally though, I feel like my little girl has been a camel for too long and I don’t know how to get her to eat. She loves mac and cheese so I buy loads of mac and cheese, but the next day she won’t touch it. What are moms to do?! Here are a few things I’ve tried that help… on occasion:
Location, Location, Location
My little girl will get immediately apprehensive if I pick her up to set her down at the counter because she knows I’m going to make her eat and interrupt her play. Eating is better than nothing, so some days we eat our PB and Js with her toys on the floor. Or she’ll get a tater in her mouth as she runs around the backyard.
A kid needs dipping sauce -- as my daughter affectionately calls ketchup, fry sauce, or ranch -- to spice things up. Sure it may be weird or disgusting, but if dipping her tuna fish sandwich floats her boat and gets her to eat, be my guest.
I’ve found that my daughter will eat better if she doesn’t have as large of a portion on her plate. Maybe it is daunting to her or she thinks it will take too long to eat it all and she’ll miss out. Instead of throwing it all on the floor, she’ll eat her few little bites, and sometimes (miraculously) ask for more.
The Right Dinnerware
Maybe your child doesn’t want their food to touch, or he has a hard time holding big utensils. That's why we have super cute plates, silverware, and cups. I know my little girl gets so excited for her white spoon. (I know, I know kind of bland, but she loves it, okay!) I can almost always get her to eat her oatmeal when that spoon is clean. Utensils a child can easily hold, plates that make the meal look more manageable, and cups that are fun to drink from can make all the difference to a picky two-year-old.
Even little kids like choices. Choices make us all feel a little more independent. The choices don’t have to be anything extravagant or call for more work from you. The choice could be between a grilled cheese and a ham sandwich, or spaghetti marinara and spaghetti Alfredo. Let them feel a part of the meal process, and even let them help make it if that is possible without making your life harder.