Growth slows down in the toddler years compared to their growth as babies. Even with the slower growth, toddlers need between 1,000 and 1,400 calories per day. Feeding a toddler who is picky or always on the move can make it seem impossible to reach those calorie goals.
Keep reading for tips to feed a fussy toddler that can make the job easier.
If you’re struggling with how to feed a toddler, start by removing distractions. It might seem like a good idea to sneak in veggies while your tot watches Sesame Street or plays with Little People. But the distractions might make them eat less.
It’s also safest to have your toddler seated while eating to prevent choking. The Graco Blossom 6 in 1 convertible high chair is a versatile option that works for babies and toddlers. Position the high chair so it faces away from the TV and other distractions that might keep your little one from eating.
Cook for the Whole Family
The best foods to feed a picky toddler are nutrient-dense to help them get enough calories, especially if they’re light eaters. This gives them more calories in smaller amounts of food. It can also help to feed your toddler the same food you’re eating, since they’re often more interested in what’s on your plate.
Feeding a one year old toddler fully seasoned foods that you eat, as long as they’re not overly spicy, gives them a flavorful meal option. They feel like they’re part of the family and not getting separate food that’s bland or boring. Plus, they grow up learning to like your favorite meals, which makes feeding them as they get older much easier.
Toddlers love to be independent, so make self-feeding a regular thing around your dinner table. Finger foods are easy for tots to handle, and they improve hand-eye coordination.
Offer toddler-sized utensils when you serve meals like soup or casseroles. Don’t worry about the mess. Toddlers are often more willing to eat more when they’re in charge.
Make It Interesting
When choosing things to feed a picky toddler, don’t limit it to just the few things your little one regularly eats, especially if those foods aren’t the healthiest choices. Kids ages 2 to 18 often get 40% of their daily calories from added sugars, solid fats, and other empty calories. Offer healthier foods multiple times to encourage your toddler to try them.
Continue introducing new foods that are colorful and flavorful. Make the foods more interesting by using cooking cutters to make them into fun shapes or adding dipping sauces. Let your toddler help prepare food to get them excited to eat it.
Keep It Low Pressure
As frustrating as it is to feed a fussy toddler, avoid forcing your little one to eat. Showing your frustration, threatening, or making it a high-pressure situation will likely backfire. Toddlers are learning to be independent, and making them eat could cause them to resist.
Plus, getting upset makes mealtimes stressful and negative for everyone. Stay positive, and heap praise onto your toddler for taking bites or trying new things. Sometimes your tot might not be hungry, so forcing food can make them feel overly full or uncomfortable.
Make Feeding a Toddler Easier
Feeding a toddler doesn’t have to be a struggle. Making meals interesting and offering a variety of foods can help.
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