Mealtime Positivity Webinar
Creating a positive mealtime environment can be challenging for any parent or childcare provider. Watch this webinar to learn strategies on how to navigate choosy eaters and keep food time fun.
What if my toddler doesn’t want to eat the foods I’ve served? I’m worried that they aren’t eating enough.
There are times when your toddler will barely eat anything on the plate. Many toddlers express their growing independence through eating, which results in mealtime fussiness. Picky eating doesn’t mean that your child is abnormally stubborn--it’s normal toddler behavior! Instead of pressuring your child to eat more than they want to, practice telling yourself, “that’s all their body needs right now” and let it go. In fact, research suggests that excessive mealtime pressure is associated with childhood picky eating. Children are strong intuitive eaters, and you have to trust that they know their appetite best. If your child has healthy growth trends, then they are meeting their needs.
How do I deal with my child’s demands for special foods?
Stay strong and don’t cater to the food jags! Parents often feel compelled to make separate meals for their children based on requests. It's out of love and kindness, but giving into these food jags will only make them last longer. You miss an opportunity to introduce new foods and increase the number of dishes your child is willing to eat when you only serve the food you know your child is comfortable with. Give your child the choice to pick between two options instead of asking them an open-ended question. For example, ask them, "Would you like broccoli OR brussels sprouts" instead of "What do you want to eat?" This way, your child will still feel part of the meal planning process without having total control over what they are served.
How do I get my child to eat more “new foods” in their diet?
Learning to like new foods takes time and patience. Even after your child eats a food, they won’t eat it every time. The key to introducing new foods is to pair the familiar with the unfamiliar. Sometimes your children will jump to try something they haven’t eaten before, but most often they will refuse new foods. It can take more than 20 tries before a child builds up the courage to taste something unfamiliar. Instead of drawing an abundance of attention to new foods on your child’s plate, approach all foods neutrally. Your child will try the new food when they are ready. Remember, the more pressure you put on a food, the less likely your child will eat and enjoy it.