Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ten Tips For Picky Toddlers

Do you have a picky toddler? So many of us do. I had no idea what challenges faced mothers of young children until I was in the position of finding food my child would eat. How hard can it be to feed a child half your size? After all you parents stop laughing, read on. I have found several tips to help turn your picky eater into a more adventurous (dare I say foodie?) child.

Top Ten Tips For Picky Toddlers

  1. Shop as a family. This is a simple trick that involves having your child help you select the foods for your meals. If she gets to decide on broccoli rather than green beans she will be a lot more likely to give the broccoli a try.
  2. Cook together. Including your child in food preparation is easier than you think and can yield major results. As a bonus she is more likely to try something she helped cook.
  3. Eat at the same time. Have a family meal so your child can witness you eating healthy foods. Never underestimate your power to influence your child at this young age.
  4. Read fun books. Find some great books about healthy eating and read them together. We love "I Will Never, Not Ever Eat a Tomato."
  5. Clean together. Cleaning up before a meal and after will help your child feel a part of meal preparation. During this time you can have a conversation about dinner or favorite foods.
  6. Talk food. If you open up dialog with your child you are a lot more likely to come across ideas for fun meals your child would like or misconceptions about certain foods.
  7. Have fun. Make it a party. We like to make pink pancakes using pureed beets, monster soup using avocados, and black bean brownies. 
  8. Grow something. Plant a container garden, square foot garden, or windowsill garden. Audrey first ate lettuce without prompting because she picked it from the garden herself.
  9. Play around. Have a fun project in the kitchen involving a bucket of rice and some measuring cups. Again, the purpose is to make food fun.
  10. Meal plan together. I love to pull out cookbooks with Audrey and Maurene and ask them to help me find a recipe. Make sure to read the recipe first before letting your toddler pick. If you can't decide between two, let her cast the winning vote!
Healthy food shopping

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  1. Thanks so much for these tips. They all seem so simple, and yet I haven't been doing them!

    Before I had kids, I was going to be the mom who only let my kids eat organic, non-processed foods... and then I got to the point where I was so desperate for him to eat, I kind of lowered my standards...

    I'm going to try these tips :-)


  2. You are such a great role model! I love hearing about your food adventures with the girls and am thrilled that Maurene has joined in on the fun! xoxox Michelle

  3. Don't give us Sarah, we started small and kept after it.
    Thanks, Michelle! That means so much! It is working and I am starting to feel better.

  4. I completely agree about the importance of cooking with your kids. My daughter loves to help me cook and I have noticed that she eats more when she helped to make it. And not always just more in volume--but more of a variety. If she helped me with the veggies than she wants to eat more of them. If she helped me with the main dish, she wants to eat more of that.


  5. Great ideas! Do you have a recipe for those beet pancakes? My girls LOVE helping cook and clean up the kitchen!

    1. We just add a little beet (1-2 tbsp) puree to a regular batter. The girl's daddy likes to keep a box of pancake mix around so it is not a special recipe.


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