I have a few rules I stick to when it comes to feeding my Little, and so far, they’ve been pretty successful. I know feeding toddlers/preschoolers can be a super frustrating experience-but if you stick to these guidelines, hopefully you can have some success-and make meal times a more enjoyable experience.
- Offer a variety or colourful, different shaped/textured options. Hit up the dollar store or Bulk Barn and grab a few differently shaped cookie cutters. It’s an easy way to turn boring food into fun shapes.
- Try, try, try again. Toddlers are the most fickle little creatures ever-just because they like something one day, doesn’t mean they’ll like it the next day, and vice versa. My rule is 3 strikes and you’re out-meaning offer a particular food 3 different times, but try and present it in different, interesting ways. If after those 3 times your Little is still not biting 🙂 then maybe move on to something different. And don’t offer it 3 times in a row, break it up a little.
- Don’t ever force a child to eat. We as adults aren’t forced to eat-we eat when we’re hungry. And some days my Little eats like it’s going out of style, and sometimes he barely has a nibble. Let them tell you when they’re hungry and, please, LISTEN!
- Same goes for finishing everything on their plate. They may only choose to take a few bites from each option on their plate-but that’s ok! Wrap up the left overs for another day.
- Make their meals “finger meals”, meaning make everything on their plate something they can eat with their fingers-or utensils if they are old enough to/choose to. Even if I’ve made a dish for the hubby and I, I still generally make up a finger plate for Little. Sometimes I just seperate the ingredients from the main meal-or I make him his own. I always include a fruit and veggie, a grain, and a protein (plant or meat).
- Don’t withhold things from them, just because you personally don’t like them. For example-I cannot stand celery (bad childhood experience), but Little loves it dipped in hummus or “Ants of A Log” style-so I make it for him. If you push your likes and dislikes on your child, then you’re not letting them experience everything there is in the glorious world that is food!
- Let them help prep and cook. As soon as I mention I’m making dinner, baking cooking etc, Little comes running and pushes his “helper chair” over to the counter. I let him do what is age appropriate-and he loves it. He also learns the names of ingredients and loves to sample things as we go.