How To Feed A Picky Eater

How To Feed A Picky Eater

A toddler is naturally a picky eater. Yes, you heard me right. In their first year, babies experience rapid growth that makes them triple their birth weight on average. During their toddler years, children gain weight less slowly, hence they require less food. Taking into consideration that your children will be more mobile, and doing many other "important" activities like exploring their environment, they tend to be less interested in food as well. It will be easier on the parent if food is made into snacks rather than a full-fledged meal, since they can't get their butts stuck to their chairs. For Asians like us, this may be typically challenging as it goes against our table manners policies.
As much as this may sound absurd to you, our job as parents is to offer foods that are nutritious and creative; and give our little explorers most of the responsibility to figure how much they eat, when they eat and if they even eat at all.
So how can I feed my picky eater at home?

The fundamental behaviour of toddlers is such that they like to binge one food at a time. Did you notice this in your children? For example, they may like to eat only fruits today, and only rice the next day; sometimes not eat at all the following day. Toddlers have mood swings, and the same applies to their erratic eating behaviours. That being said, we should still encourage healthy eating habits by working around their behavioural patterns and aim for a nutritionally-balanced week instead.


Here are 5 ways you can encourage your children to eat better

  1. Make Dips
    Create your own healthy dips in the form of yoghurt, cream cheese, nut butter, no-sugar jams, guacamole (mashed avocadoes), pureed vegetables/fruits with a nutritious platform like wholemeal bread, fruit sticks, bagels or crackers

  2. Imitating Others
    If your toddler likes eating your food, show him that you eat what he eats as well. Sharing the food and having a conversation over the colours and textures of the food will also make this an enjoyable learning experience.

    Alternatively, show him how other children eat by having a playdate with a child of similar age (or older) who loves to eat and can be a model for him.

  3. For The Vegetable Haters
    Plant your own garden (this is my favourite way) - involve your child in the planting process of vegetables from the sowing, daily maintenance and harvesting to the washing and cooking of the vegetables to get them more involved in the process.

    Put vegetables into anything that you can think of. Vegetable pasta, smoothies, blend them into dips, make them into finger foods, pasta sauces or use vegetable powders.

    Make creative shapes with vegetables using cookie cutters, or make facial features with them and things they can relate to.

  4. Is Eating Environment Ideal?
    One of the reasons why children are unable to sit still at the dinner table could also be a result of their feet not being able to touch the ground. If their legs are dangling, they are less likely to sit still and finish their food. Consider a child-sized table and chair, use a high chair that allows them to rest their feet or modify your existing high chair with accessories that can do so.

  5. RELAX
    Remember that mealtimes have to be fun and chill. Refrain from nagging or scolding at the dinner table. Appreciate their efforts, accept the mess and be prepared that the older they get, the more expectations they have over how their food is prepared and presented.
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