Feeding a Picky Eating Toddler without the Stress!

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A toddler that is a picky eater can feel impossible to feed. You may feed them green beans this week and next week they snub them.

It may seem that the only foods your toddler will eat are chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, but you can expand your toddler’s diet a little at a time. Remember you are the parent, so you are the one who decides what food comes in the house and gets served.

Here are some helpful tips to get your picky toddler eating more foods.

Feeding a Picky Eater Toddler

1. Use seasonings.

Don’t be leery of adding seasoning to your toddler’ food. Of course, you’ll probably want to stay away from extreme seasoning like hot sauce. But even as adults, it’s much easier to eat broccoli with a little extra seasoning.

My kids would not eat cooked carrots for the longest time. Then I started adding just a little bit of melted butter, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and cinnamon. My kids now ask for seconds on their carrots. yes, they are getting a little extra fat and sugar, but it’s really not a lot and they are still eating the nutrients in the carrots.

Here are some seasonings to consider using:

  • cinnamon
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt and pepper

2. Add it to other dishes. 

Sometimes it’s easier for a toddler to eat vegetables or any other food, when it is mixed in with other foods.

Some favorite ways to do this at our house is mixing diced vegetables to rice or pasta. You can also mix several diced veggies together and add a little dressing or shredded cheese.

3. Provide two healthy choices.

Toddlers re learning independency, and being picky may actually have nothing to do with the food and more to do with exerting themselves. A way to let them feel in control, but still make sure they are eating a well balanced diet is to give them 2 healthy options and let them pick one.

This can be a meal times and snacks.

  • green beans or carrots
  • apple slices or blueberries
  • cheese slice or yogurt
  • graham cracker or granola bar

Be sure to read this article for more healthy food choices: 75+ Food Ideas for Toddlers to End the Meal Time Rut!

4. Don’t give up!

If your toddler doesn’t like a food the first time he tries it, don’t give up! Try it a few days or weeks later. It may take several times before they decide that they like it.

It took about 4-5 tries before my son started liking broccoli. It also took him months before he started eating the skin on blueberries and other produce! He said he didn’t like how the skin felt in his mouth (texture), so he would eat the inside of the blueberry and spit the skin out! I fought it for awhile and told him he had stop spitting the skins out which did not work.

After a few weeks of this struggle that I certainly wasn’t winning, I finally stopped talking about it. And for months he spit the skin out. Then one day, he accidentally ate an entire blueberry and decided it wasn’t so bad. He now eat whole blueberries and skin on other fruits and veggies! But he had to figure it out on his own. I couldn’t make him do it.

You can’t force your toddler either. Of course, you want them to eat a well balanced diet, but that usually won’t happen if you demand that they eat their green beans. Provide healthy options, make the food tasty with seasonings, and encourage your toddler when they do eat new foods.

Before you know it, your toddler will learn to eat more foods and dinner time won’t feel like such a battle.

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