Dealing with a picky eating toddler is not easy, especially if their eating habits were not built on a healthy foundation. So how can you get your toddler to accept other foods besides pizza and cupcakes?
The most important thing parents fail to realize is that their own unhealthy eating habits and picky tendencies rub off on their children. If parents are eating unhealthy snacks and sugary foods, most likely their children are eating that way as well. Additionally, if certain foods are not a part of the family diet then most likely they will not be a part of the childs diet. The good part about it is that children are impressionable and their picky eating habits can be evolved into healthy ones.
Here are a few tips to get your child off to a healthy start:
Start ‘em young
If your baby is just starting to begin eating solid foods be sure to introduce a wide range of fruits and vegetables and try to make homemade babyfood. If your baby shows resistance or makes funny faces when you feed her certain foods don't ban that food altogether. Try to offer the food at another time and encourage her to eat. If you ban the food all together you are already setting yourself up for a picky eater. Your goal is to offer foods that are healthy for your baby. . . they may not like it now but in time, their taste buds will adapt. Also, offer foods that you wouldn't ordinarily eat yourself. Just because you hate peas doesn't mean you should deprive your baby of peas. She may like them.
Don't ever say “I don't like. . . . " in front of your child
If your child sees you heeing and hawing over brussel sprouts what do you think he is going to do? He is going to hee and haw and convince himself he doesn't like them either. Hide your food dislikes and encourage your child to be open minded.
If your child doesn't like vegetables, you are not alone. Most children don't like vegetables, especially if you don't do anything to add some flavor to them! Offer your toddler seasoned vegetables with a little butter, a little dill, a little oregano, a little rosemary, or a little garlic. That may be enough to tempt their taste buds. If it isn't, try blending vegetables into fruit smoothies or sauces and use the “Out of Sight, Out of Mind" technique. If they can't see it, they might eat it.
Limit junk food and sugary snacks
Only buy foods that you want your child to eat and do not introduce chips, cookies, or candy until your child has established a healthy foundation. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks and keep your refrigerator stocked with healthy food choices. This will also help keep you from indulging and adding on unnecessary pounds.
Do not give in to your childs picky tendencies
It's okay to give your child choices, but only choices like “Would you like Strawberries or blueberries for your snack?" Often times, children will express their dislike and the parents will cave and accept their decision to not eat something and will never offer it again! Bad move. Ask questions! Find out what your child doesn't like about a food by simply asking him. You may find he may not like the way a food is prepared and you can make some adjustments and try again.
These tips should get you off to a great start. Buy a few healthy kid friendly recipe books from http://www.myhomemadebabyfood.com/bookstore.htm and prepare colorful and fun foods that your toddler will enjoy!
Tamika, “Tamilyn", Gardner is editor and owner of http://www.myhomemadebabyfood.com which provides all the wonderful benefits of preparing baby food at home and great recipes, tips, and gifts for babies and toddlers.