Toddlers and picky eating are like two peas in a pod. This subject is one of the things I see Moms complain about the most. Their toddlers are picky eaters and they want ways to overcome the pickiness. Or how to make a toddler want something besides nuggets, fries, and pizza. Those are my daughters top 3 choices she asks for at every meal.
After working in a Daycare and working on classes to obtain my CDA one of the biggest things that you learn is to just accept that Toddlers aren’t going to eat everything, and sometimes we just have to let them eat nuggets, pizza, and fries until they’re sick of it.
Picky Eaters fall into Four Categories
Sensory Dependent Eaters
Taste, touch, or smell, are the main reasons toddlers won’t eat these foods. An easy tip to overcome this is a disguise to food in or as something else.
Ashlynn typically won’t eat fish when I make it. She will spit it out and say “Mommy, that’s gross.” So I always serve sides with it that I know she will eat.
Last night we had friends over for a game night, and our friend Brandon said he wanted to cook dinner at our house for us. I, of course, didn’t object. He cooked catfish and breaded it. It was delicious. Because Ashlynn doesn’t like fish, I only gave her macaroni and cheese with broccoli. Brandon gave her some of his fish, and she loved it. So much so, she asked for leftovers for lunch today.
Lesson learned: My 3-year-old likes fish when it’s breaded.
These are the toddlers that don’t like new foods. They need to try something several times before they enjoy it. And sneaking in a new food into their favorite food is the end of the world to them.
It’s okay if toddlers don’t want to try new food, or say they don’t like it. Just keep offering it to them, but make sure to also serve something that they do like.
Ashlynn isn’t always a big fan of new foods, but I know that she will always eat broccoli or corn on the cob if we make that with dinner.
Food on the plate can’t be touching other food on the plate. Each food has to have it’s own spot, and cannot, under any circumstances, be mixed together, unless the toddler was the one to do the mixing.
I haven’t experienced this with either of my kids yet, however, growing up, my little sister was like this for years. Nothing could be touching, when we would dish up her plate for her, we had to be extra cautious to make sure nothing was touching when we dished it up, and in the process of carrying the plate to her at the table.
Eventually, she grew out of this, and so will your toddler.
This isn’t a category that I’ve personally experienced, but these toddlers have to have their food prepared specific ways.
With these toddlers, the best things to do is to prepare the food the way that they are requesting it.
Important Things to Remember
Toddler years are the years when children are starting to develop their independence. One way they do this is by deciding what they will and won’t eat.
Did you know that children are born knowing when they are hungry, when they are full and when it is time to stop eating? Think about your toddler when they were a newborn, they let us know when they wanted to eat, and when they were done. Toddlers are the same way, just more vocal.
Provide your toddler with a variety of nutritious foods to choose from. They get to insert their independence in deciding what to eat, and parents are reassured knowing their toddlers are eating nutritious foods. Also, allow your toddler to decide how much of the food they want to eat.
Toddlers in general, don’t like trying new foods. On average, it takes a toddler 10-15 times before they may even start liking new food. Don’t force them to eat it, and just keep offering it to them at other times.
Have meals and snacks at the same time every day. Therefore, toddlers aren’t snacking right before dinner and refusing to eat dinner because they’re full from the snack they just had an hour beforehand.
As long as you’re doing these things, then relax Momma, you’re toddler is getting the nutrition they need…. even if it seems like they aren’t, and everything is a phase and they will move on from it soon enough.
15 Healthy Snacks for Toddlers
When it comes to eating anything, toddlers can be picky with food. Especially mine. My beautiful little girl who would eat anything now wants nuggets, fries, or pizza for every single meal. And that’s not an exaggeration. Fortunately, there’s plenty of healthy snacks, that aren’t only kid-friendly but taste good and are great for on the go.
Check it out for some fun, easy on the go ideas for snack times.
- Apple Slices and yogurt
- Watermelon chunks
- Whole wheat toast & Peanut Butter
- Orange Slices
- Dried Fruit
- Celery & Peanut Butter
- Carrot Sticks
- Dry Cereal
- Rice Cakes
- Goldfish Crackers
These are my favorite go-to healthy snacks for my little ones. What are your favorite snacks for your kids?