Ah, the wonderful world of feeding toddlers! At this age, picky eating is fairly standard, and its normal for your little one to develop some strong feelings about what they do (and don't!) like. That said, it can be quite the balancing act to handle a picky eater while ensuring they meet all their nutritional needs.
So following our recent podcast with naturopathic doctor Anna Garber, we've pulled together her top tips on cultivating a more positive attitude from your toddler towards new foods. (And in case you missed it, be sure to check out our This Little Life Podcast with Dr. Garber on all things children's gut health - you won't want to miss it - Link below
Get their hands dirty!
Involving your little ones in meal preparation is a fantastic way to get them more excited about trying the final product. Depending on how old your child is, this may involve chopping up produce, or simply pouring ingredients. When your little chef feels like they were part of the process, they’ll be more invested (and therefore more excited) to try the finished meal.
It starts with us
As parents, it's always our job to lead by example—and this can translate in the kitchen too. When we, ourselves, are more open to trying different foods, our children will be more likely to approach new foods with a sense of curiosity. So, make it fun. Toddlers are innately curious—they have a sense of awe for...well...everything, so be sure to take advantage of that.
Sensory issues? Not a problem
Offering variety, not only in the types of foods, but also in the way the food is prepared can help children with sensory issues. So, if your child refuses to eat their boiled carrots, think again. Maybe they’d like them roasted, mashed, or even raw. Testing different cooking methods also gives us a better sense of whether it’s the texture specifically, or the taste of a particular food. Remember to have fun with this.
When introducing new foods to your little one, it can be a good idea to pair it with something they know and love—a safe food, if you will. This will make them more open to trying something new, because they have that sense of comfort.
Consider serving up all the different dishes on your dining table, family style. This can give your little one a greater sense of autonomy as they’re able to pick and choose exactly what they want. Remember tip #2 - when you’re excited about eating the food, they’ll be more likely to follow suit.
LittleOak has been nourishing children for many years and feeds millions of infants and babies across the globe each and every day, in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. In the US, we're proud to have our FDA compliant Toddler Milk available for families.