If your toddler is a fussy eater, don’t worry you are not on your own. A lot of parents worry that their toddler is not following a healthy diet by continuously refusing certain foods.  With the best will in the world it can be difficult to get it right every day.

Here are some tips to help increase the variety and amount of foods that your toddler will consume and turn the nightmare of meal times into a more enjoyable experience for both you and your little one:

Try and develop a daily routine of three meals and two to three snacks around your toddlers sleeping pattern

  1. Praise your toddler when they have eaten well.
  2. Don’t allow your toddler graze on snacks during the day. Try and develop a daily routine of three meals and two to three snacks around your toddlers sleeping pattern. Your toddler will then know when to expect food. This will also encourage your toddler to eat, if they are over tired or over hungry they will be less likely to eat.
  3. Encourage your toddler to help you prepare and shop for meals.
  4. A lot of toddlers fill up on drinks during the day e.g. fruit juices, squash and milk. Limit your toddler’s milk intake to 300ml per day and offer water in place of fruit juices and squashes.
  5. Don’t offer sweet foods as a reward for eating well
  6. Toddlers learn from copying what they see you and older siblings doing so include them in family meals as much as possible.
  7. Create a relaxing environment around meal times, free from distractions e.g. tv, books and toys.
  8. Don’t be put off if you toddler doesn’t take a new food the first time, it can take up to 10 times before a toddler will take a new food.
  9. When your toddler has had enough remove the food without comment.
  10. Toddlers love finger foods as they will be able feed themselves. Examples of healthy finger foods include:
  • carrot sticks
  • broccoli florets
  • rice cakes
  • buttered scones
  • chopped fruit
  • celery sticks with hummus

toddler eating in highchair

It is also reassuring to know that if your toddler is going through a phase of fussy eating it will usually resolve in time.

Another trick mums have shared with us:

When introducing a new food to your toddler, tell him he can spit it out if he doesn’t like it and place a plate under his mouth. You will probably have to  do this a number of times, but if he sees the rest of the family eating the food he will eventually eat it.

Patience is required for these tricks but it will be worth it in the end.

If your toddler has constipation or is anaemic it may lead your toddler to refuse foods, in this case it is best to talk to your doctor.

Not sure if your toddler is following a healthy diet – check out our Toddler Nutrient Calculator or  if you would like to talk to a nutritionist please contact us.