Picky Eater

Picky Eaters

Toddlers can be unpredictable and particular about food preferences from one day to the next.  A favorite food may not be interesting when a child is not hungry.  Total calorie needs per pound go down in the second year of life.  Serving sizes of table food are only a tablespoonful at age one and a quarter cupful at age two.  Don’t let this stress you out as a parent.  As parents, your job is to make sure that you always have healthy options available to your toddler and show your child that healthy eating is enjoyable.  With time, your toddler will not be a toddler anymore. If you have surrounded them with healthy options consistently, their diet will become more varied.

Toddlers enjoy finger foods or table foods that they can feed to themselves. Try to make these healthy options such as slices of banana, slices of avocado, small pieces of toast, etc.  There are several links under the “Education” tab of this site with recipe suggestions.

Beware of finger foods that could be choked on as children do not fully gain the grinding motion involved in chewing until the age of 4 and can be distracted from safely chewing, for example, laughing and eating at the same time.  Avoid the following: raw carrots, large sections of hot dogs, raw celery, raw cherries with pits, whole grapes, round/hard candy, and peanuts or other nuts.

Even when your toddler is feeding himself, it’s a good idea to sit with him while he eats. He’s also old enough to join the rest of the family in eating at the dinner table. Use these family meals to model the healthy eating that you want your child to adopt for the rest of his or her life.  There are many studies that indicate family meals benefit not only good nutrition but also social and academic skills.

More information can be found at www.healthychildren.org

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