Mother feeding her little girl

Feeding Fussy Toddlers: What to Do When Your Little Ones Refuse to Eat

Toddlerhood can be a truly difficult time for many parents, especially when it’s finally mealtime. Toddlers can be extremely finicky when it comes to food. One day, they have a new favorite and then the next, they won’t even let it near them. Sometimes, when they’ve finally found something they enjoy, it could be worrisome, as this could mean they’re not getting the right amount of balanced nutrition.

Once children reach toddlerhood, it’s normal for many of them to be less interested in food compared to when they were babies. Toddlers grow a lot more slowly than babies, which affects their appetite. They also want to be more independent, and that satisfaction they get from being able to say “no” to food is actually quite normal. In addition, this is the age when they start developing their movement skills, which means they become more interested in exploring and playing instead of eating and drinking.

For them, there are much more interesting things in the world than eating. Getting your little ones to even swallow a tablespoon of food can be a taxing routine. Here, we have some tips from trusted family physicians in Salt Lake City on how you can make mealtime with your little one a lot less challenging:

Take Your Toddler to the “Big” Table

During family mealtimes, bring your toddler to the dining table with all the other members of the family. Children love to copy the adults around them. When they join everyone on the “big” table, your toddlers will learn a lot by watching others enjoying their meals.

Let Them Eat Family Food

There’s no need to prepare separate food for your little ones. As long as the food textures have been modified so they can safely consume them, toddlers may eat the same food everyone else in the family eats. For instance, beef can be a good source of zinc, iron, and other important nutrients that will be of value for children’s growth.

Stick to a Predictable Meal Schedule

Help your child to transition to a predictable schedule for all of their snacks and meals. The ideal interval is once every 2-3 hours. This will ensure that your child gets adequate nutrition they need throughout the entire day.

Introduce Them to Different Kinds of Food

Dad feeding his son

One effective way to make children embrace food, even those that they initially reject, is to constantly expose them to a wide variety. Experts have proven that repeated exposure, or encouraging your toddlers to be appreciative of food, will help them develop food acceptance after some time. Make sure you don’t appear too authoritative, or they’ll end up hating them even more.

Finally, never pressure a child to take another bite of food or finish their meals, as this tactic may actually backfire. This will only lead to less eating, increased pickiness, and an even stronger dislike of the food. Instead, allow your toddler to explore food, feed themselves, and use their own cups and utensils. This will eventually help them find their favorites and be more appreciative of food.

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