Mar 23, 2016

Toddler Talk: Picky Eaters

Has anyone else out there been blessed with a picky eater in their home? Sadly Stafford, myself, and McKinlee are all pretty confident in what foods we do and don't like (thank Heaven for Addie who is an angel and likes most everything she's tried so far) to put in nicely. I'm a vegetarian, Stafford MUST have meat and avoids colorful vegetables when possible, and McKinlee is a mixture of us both, which basically leaves chocolate and fruit. So this post is for anyone out there that can relate.

Tips for feeding your picky toddler

Every situation is unique. McKinlee has a lot of stomach acid like her dad, she has a crazy sensitive gagging reflex, and is not a fan of textures. Being our oldest, I just thought this is how all kids are, but so far Addie has proven that wrong (there's hope for our future children!!). Through the 3 years of McKinlee's life, I have learned a few tricks that have helped us in the food department.

Don't let them graze 

Early on, we let McKinlee eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted because at least she was eating! I think all parents of picky eaters probably feel like this at some point. We decided to cut out half of her snacks and limit her to 3 meals and 2 snacks. Right away we noticed a difference that she was eating more at meal times. Hallelujah! I was so ecstatic! That was one of the biggest and best changes we could have made.

Offer healthy options 

I made sure her snack options were more healthy. She didn't do vegetables, but I started doing fruit cups or fresh fruit, crackers and cheese, apples and peanut butter, etc. If she liked something she would usually stick with it for a few days in a row before she would ask for something different. When she started talking more and more, food became a lot easier to figure out.

Limit distractions

I took a toddler nutrition class in college and this stood out to me. We keep the TV off, I clear the table of crafts and other clutter and try to make meal time focused on the table and eating. Young toddlers may have a hard time with this at first, but keep trying it! Consistency is key!

Only try one new food at a time 

It would be overwhelming for me to sit down to a plate with all new foods on it. When we decide it's time for McKinlee to try a new vegetable (or chicken) I make sure to make the rest of the meal something she's comfortable with. She loves pasta and rice, so that's my easy meal to introduce a new vegetable. Lately I've taught her to mix her veggies with her main dish and that sometimes distracts her from what she's really eating. It's all about finding what works for your babe.

I hope you find some success with at least one of these tips. I know food has been a source of frustration in my mom life, but it has gotten a lot better with time. Let me know what works for you, as we are still working with our picky eater ;) Happy hump day!


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