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Mealtime should never be stressful, but when you have a two year old toddler who is a picky eater, it can sometimes be tough to avoid. I never thought that MY child would be a picky eater, but some meals are a constant struggle for us (especially dinner!) Bennett was always a really great eater up until he was about 18 months old. I have always been health conscientious with all of his food choices and so with that being said, I constantly worry about Bennett getting enough nutrients in his diet at each meal. Bennett has both his good and his bad days, and sometimes he will even surprise us and eat really well all day! Then there are those other days that he wants nothing to do with whatever I put in front of him. I thought I would share with you some of my tip/guidelines on how to deal with a picky toddler, based on what I have learned so far:
- Use Gerber® Pure® Water. Mealtime can definitely be stressful with a picky eater, but it doesn’t have to be! Mealtime is a little easier knowing that my toddler is receiving Gerber® Pure® which is specifically purified for babies. I use it with his favorite baby cereals and oatmeal, which I can always count on him eating in the mornings. Breakfast is now one less thing that I have to worry about! (Total Mom Win in my book). One of Bennett’s favorite breakfast meals is Peanut Butter and Banana oatmeal, so I mix Gerber® Pure® water into his morning cereal and also give it to him as drinking water. Gerber® Pure® water is intended for mixing with infant formula or cereal and comes in handy as they gradually start using other sources of nutrition such as baby food, etc. To learn more about Nestle Gerber and Gerber® Pure®, you can go here!
- Don’t make your toddler a separate meal from what you are having. This is the hardest rule for me to follow! I have learned that when you accommodate your toddler because they don’t like something, they then expect you to make them the alternative. I have learned that it is my job to provide a healthy meal for my child, (a protein, carb and fruit/vegetable) and what he does or doesn’t eat is okay. If he doesn’t like something or finish his food, then mealtime is over. This is always a tough one for me, because my natural instinct is that I don’t want my child starve! I have learned that this won’t actually happen and it teaches Bennett that he needs to eat what I give him or mealtime will come to a finish.
- Sneak in fruits and vegetables where you can. Some of the easiest ways we have achieved this are with popsicles, muffins made with carrots and zucchini etc. and sneaking lots of fruits and vegetables into smoothies.
- Give them some dipping sauce. This has helped us TREMENDOUSLY in our house. I don’t know what it is, but toddlers like sauces and they love to dip! We use ketchup, ranch, and hummus a lot these days!
- Make mealtime fun! Kids love fun shapes, colors and even food made into funny faces or characters, so get creative with your child’s food!
- Don’t barter with your child. Don’t say things like “If you eat this, then you will get that.” Although I often do it myself, I know that bartering with a two year is probably not a good idea. Stick with tip #1 and forego the barter talk.
- Don’t force your child to eat. This is very similar to my first tip, and I have learned that sometimes Bennett just isn’t hungry. Again, I try to stick to my credo that it is my job to provide the meal and if he doesn’t eat it, then so be it. Toddlers will usually catch up at a later meal and I have to remind myself he’s not going to starve just because he skips one meal or snack.
- Set a good example. I try to sit down and have a meal with Bennett every time he eats, so that he can see that it is actually meal time and will hopefully mimic what I am doing. He also just recently started to ask me for bites off of my plate, so I am hoping that this will help!
Gerber® Pure® Water can be found in the bottled water section of Walmart or you can purchase it online!
As always, thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to read my posts!