How to Feed Your Toddler A Healthy Diet
- Routine. Stick to a meal-time routine. We have breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and then dinner. (But whatever works for you.)
- Healthy Foods. During those feeding times, offer healthy food options.
- Let them Choose. They can choose from amongst the food that you offer. (Allowing your kids to choices doesn’t mean they get to eat chocolate cookies the whole time. You are in charge of what is on offer, they get to choose from what you offer.)
- Don’t Pressure them. As tempting as it is to encourage them to eat, research shows that pressuring children to eat has negative consequences. Just learn to trust them.
- Don’t Be Pressured yourself. You choose the menu, don’t let them push you into cookies, sweets and treats. (Not even “Just One Bite”!)
- Treats in Moderation. It’s fine to eat treats, just make sure it’s in small amounts rather than all the time.
- Offer Variety. The more variety you offer, the more variety your kids will eat.
- Keep Offering New Foods. Don’t expect them to eat the new food, it takes time to get used to new food. They probably won’t even try it but just keep going.
- Be Patient. Toddlers are especially challenging. Most toddlers feeding habits change from “easy going baby” to “picky toddler”. Just keep presenting the healthy food and allow them to eat the bits they like.
- Be persistent. If your child doesn’t like something, just keep presenting it. Allow them to not eat it. My favourite phrase is “you don’t have to eat it”. But if you stop presenting everything that your children claim not to like, you’ll be living off pasta, pasta and pasta.
Dr Orlena Kerek
Dr Orlena Kerek is a paediatric doctor and mother of four young children. Her blog, “Snotty Noses” is about parenting and developing healthy habits from an early age, especially healthy eating habits. She believes in fun family life the stress free way.