Trying to feed your toddler can be so difficult at times. Some days they seem to eat more than an Olympic swimmer, and other days they somehow survive on air and crackers! Rather than stress over their nutrition and long-term health, these mom hacks will help save the day when your picky toddlers just won’t eat.
This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx on behalf of Else Nutrition, but all opinions are my own.
Why are toddlers such picky eaters?
Around 18 months of age, toddlers go through a huge stage of development. That second year of life is where their personalities really show up, and they have a desire to be more independent.
That includes making their own decisions on what they will – or won’t – eat.
What many parents don’t realize is that entering a power struggle with your toddler is one of the worst things you can do when this happens. It just makes them fight harder!
How can I get my child to want to eat?
Knowing that toddlers want to be independent and have control over themselves, parents can use that to their advantage. (Ahh yes, here’s where the mom hack shows up – and we get what WE want!)
- Let your toddler choose his dish. A simple choice of letting him choose the red bowl or the blue bowl gives him a sense of control from the start. (It’s best to limit choices to only two options to prevent overwhelm and meltdowns.)
- Offer foods your toddler likes at every meal. If he loves apples but hates spaghetti, put apples on his plate with a small serving of spaghetti. This way, he will definitely have food to eat that he won’t fight over.
- Let him choose a food option for dinner. When planning the meal, ask him to “help” you decide what to serve. “Which vegetable should we have, carrots or green beans?” He may not like either (and may also not eat either) but involving him in the decisions may eventually get him interested enough to try a new food.
- Let him feed himself. Even if he makes a mess, let him do the work. He can also help you clean up when he’s done!
- Don’t try to force him to eat. Power struggles just never work. And even as adults, there are foods we just don’t want to eat! Keep mealtimes calm and enjoyable, as stressful meals will just cause further food rebellion.
How do I know if my child is getting enough nutrition?
Even when it seems like our little ones are barely eating enough for a ladybug to survive, they are often getting more food than you think. Small snacks throughout the day can add up, which may result in less of an appetite at meal time.
Our pediatricians have recommended looking at overall growth and development, while worrying less about day-to-day habits and behaviors. As long as your child continues to gain weight and height on a normal growth curve, they are likely ok. If you have concerns about their growth and/or development, definitely bring that up with your pediatrician.
Complete Nutrition Drink for Toddlers (and Babies 12+ months) from Else Nutrition
Even with these mom hacks that we use for our own picky toddlers, I can’t help but worry that my kids just aren’t getting enough nutrition. They may get full off of applesauce, fish-shaped crackers, and chicken nuggets, but that isn’t enough to satisfy my mom brain! I want to know that they are getting optimal nutrition daily.
We started using Else Nutrition’s plant-based complete nutrition for toddlers and babies over 12 months old. It is made using the cleanest possible production process with minimally processed whole food ingredients. No dairy, no soy, no hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, gluten, palm oil, or corn syrups.
Yes, really. It’s THAT clean.
Endorsed by pediatricians and nutritionists and FDA-approved, it provides a mix of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that support toddler growth and development. It is made from 92% whole plant ingredients and uses just 3 core ingredients: almonds, buckwheat, and tapioca.
When Rowen was a baby, he was very sensitive to dairy products. Once I stopped breastfeeding, it was a struggle to find the best dairy-free formula for him that he could tolerate. Even though he is able to drink milk now, I know that he feels much better when we limit the amount of dairy and soy in his diet.
As you can tell from many of the recipes I share on my blog, our family is very focused on health and nutrition – including clean eating. Until my toddler becomes a “clean eater” himself, I’m confident that he will get the best nutrition possible with a clean nutrition drink like this one!
To try this clean toddler formula, go to the Else Nutrition website to order and use the discount code AMANDA-ELSE25 to get 25% off!