No one wants to find themselves pandering to the whims of a pint-sized food dictator, but how do you stop your kids being fussy?
Everyone hears stories about toddlers who will only eat apples and toast, but nobody wants to end up with one. Don’t worry, follow these easy tips and you’ll soon have your tot enjoying his food.
1. Veggies first
Rather than offering up the food your toddler loves best first, make sure offer a few veggies as a starter, when he’s most hungry. ‘Start with a few sticks of asparagus or chunks of broccoli with butter, before bringing out his main meal,’ says nutritionist Lowri Turner. This should keep his sweet tooth in check.
2. Eat adventurously yourself
The idea is to pass on that food is fun. ‘If your toddler sees you enjoying different foods, he’s more likely to try them himself,’ says Lowri.
3. Keep trying
If your toddler refuses a food, don’t give up. It can take several attempts for him to get used to a new dish and realise that it’s actually quite nice. ‘And even though he might have rejected something when he was a year old or even younger, he might start to love it in a few months time,’ says Lowri.
4. Try toddler-led weaning
Avoid spoon feeding an older baby or toddler. The idea is that if your toddler has control over his food and is able to pick up, feel the texture of the food and try the bits he likes the look off, he’ll be more likely to experiment and eat a wide range of different things when he’s older.
5. Make food fun
For older babies and toddlers, funny faces made out of pieces of cucumber, tomato and sandwich will be popular. ‘Or have a crunching contest with raw veggies,’ says Lowri. ‘The loudest cruncher wins.’
6. Harness peer pressure
Invite other mums and their tots over for lunch. ‘Lay out a big picnic with lots of different healthy foods on a tablecloth on the floor and let kids get stuck in,’ says Lowri.
7. Act cool
Pretend you don’t care if your child doesn’t eat his supper. If he realises what he eats really matters to you, it can become a power struggle, so pretend it doesn’t and he’ll have no reason to hold back.