How to Get Your Toddler to Eat Well

The toddler years are a challenging time when it comes to feeding your children. If you approach them the wrong way, mealtimes may end up being a challenge for a much longer time.

Kids need to learn to eat well, and a positive attitude about food as well as good eating habits should be taught pretty much as soon as they start eating solids. Even as you prepare baby food recipes, work on conditioning them toward healthy eating.

Dealing with Feeding Toddlers

There are different ways parents respond to the difficulties of feeding their little ones. Unfortunately, some poor choices lead to the nurturing of bad eating habits.

If you’re having a hard time getting your children to eat well, here are some guidelines for adopting the right attitude, taking the right steps, and teaching your kids the right mealtime behavior.

1.Expect the mess and the necessary cleanup that follows.

Most toddlers are messy eaters. They don’t have as much control over their movements yet, and they also just like making a mess.

Your knee-jerk reaction may be to just spoon-feed them to make your life easier, but this could mainly lead to two non-ideal consequences: they don’t learn how to properly use utensils to feed themselves, and they don’t develop mealtime independence, preferring to always be spoon-fed.

To make the mess easier to deal with, keep them in their underwear or diaper so the food doesn’t stain their clothes, and schedule baths after meals. As for the rest of the mess, just accept that you have to clean up extra hard after meals at this time in their lives.

2.Accept their refusals with good nature.

Toddlers are known for being picky eaters. They would probably refuse to try new foods, and they would likely have stages of inexplicable peeves and preferences. Don’t let this behavior frustrate you since it’s normal.

At the point of refusal, simply take the rejected food away without any negative verbal or nonverbal comment. Don’t give up on that food, however. Be prepared to continue offering it until it is accepted. Don’t be quick to dismiss food as something that they don’t like because they may very well end up liking it when they finally give it a chance.

3.Avoid the “clear your plate” expectation.

Kids have a good idea of how much food they need. Do not require them to finish all the food on their plate as this will teach them to eat even when full. They have to learn to listen to their body cues and heed them accordingly.

When you force them to eat when not hungry, you’re messing with this important internal communication. It could lead to some very unhealthy eating habits.

4.Avoid distractions at mealtime.

If you like watching TV while eating lunch, learn to turn all screens off at mealtime. Concentrate on eating your food and observing your children as they eat. Their interest should be in their meal and not in any form of entertainment.

This will teach them to tend to the business of eating as well as prevent dawdling at the table with mostly uneaten food.

5.Allow them to help prepare meals.

They’d feel more invested in a meal if they played a role in preparing it. Meal prep is also a good time to teach them about nutrition. You can comment about the importance of having different colors, as well as the principle of five a day. To ensure even more that they’d eat vegetables, you could let them choose which ones to include in the meal.

6.Exemplify eating well.

Eat the same things you’re feeding your kids and eat with them. They have to learn as early as possible that mealtime is a social activity. The feeling of communion has a positive effect on their appetite. Partaking in healthy meals together is definitely an encouragement for them to eat well.

Face and Overcome the Challenge

It’s important to learn how to encourage your child to eat without provoking aversion. For everybody’s good, keep the above tips in mind to be properly guided on how to deal with the challenges of feeding a toddler.

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