For parents, having a fussy eater in the family can be downright frustrating. But the truth is that fussy eating is quite common, especially among toddlers. Over time, they will outgrow this phase.
If you are looking for meal ideas for fussy toddlers, here are a few that you can use.
What parents should not do
As much as possible, do not make mealtime an anxious experience, especially for your young child. Your child can pick up your energy and if you bring negative energy to the table, you will only fuel his resistance.
Do not force your child. Children have the uncanny ability to feed themselves just enough for their needs. If your child tells you that he is already full, do not ask him to eat another spoonful.
Do not try to count and fuss about each of your child’s meals. Take the long view and look at what he eats over the whole week instead.
Do not offer treats as a bribe. Encourage him to try something new but do not bribe or plead with him. If he does not want to eat what’s on the table, do not offer him different food.
Coping with a fussy eater
Many children have a fear of new foods. This means that they will eat only a handful of foods that are familiar to them. This usually occurs at around the age of two and will often pass.
If you want your child to try and eat new foods, you have to set the pace by preparing these foods. When he sees that the whole family enjoys these foods, it will be easier for you to entice him to try them.
The family that eats together
As much as possible, set aside one meal as a family meal. Children become confident to try new foods when they see other family members enjoying these.
Maintain a positive attitude
Children see their parents as role models. And if they see the adults in the household have a positive experience during meals, they will likely try new foods.
When your child does try something new, be generous with your praise and entice him to eat more. If he doesn’t finish his meals, do not say anything and eat his leftovers.
Stick to a schedule
Parents should be consistent with the schedule of meals. Ideally, mealtimes should revolve around your child’s daytime sleeping pattern. This means that he should eat three meals and two to three snacks spread throughout the day. Toddlers are creatures of habit and parents need to be attuned to this.
Keep your child involved
Consider having your child tag along with you when you are grocery shopping. This will help him become familiar with the ingredients you use for meals.
You can also ask for his help when setting the table or even prepping meals.