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How Do I Get My Picky Toddler to Eat?
It can be frustrating watching your child make the u-turn from being an active eater with a healthy appetite to becoming a fussy one.
As a mother with an older child who has exhibited this trait, you’d be better prepared to deal with it. For new mothers, however, it can leave you floored and exasperated as you wonder at the change and what caused it.
Why Do Toddlers Become Picky Eaters?
Studies have shown that toddlers develop fussy eating habits due to developmental and other related reasons. So if you are a mother with one on your hands, you are not alone.
Here are specific reasons why your child has suddenly developed a pickiness for food.
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1) She’s Becoming More Independent
Your child is learning a number of new skills at this time, including walking, talking, climbing, and exploring. These can all make her develop a sense of independence, which she will assert in various ways, including a refusal to be dressed and throwing a tantrum or running away when you try to get her to eat.
2) She’s Becoming More Intuitive
She’s also discovering a difference in the taste of the foods placed before her; she’s learning which are sweet and which aren’t.
Since most of her foods before now have consisted of breastmilk, fruits and pureed foods that have a sweet taste, she’s possibly developed a sweet palate and will likely fuss when you introduce any food or vegetable that isn’t.
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3) She Wants Some Semblance of Sameness
Learning several new skills can also make it seem like things are a lot out of her control, and introducing fresh foods at this time will sort of confirm this fact. She could become picky with her food in a bid to get back some of this control.
How Do I Get My Picky Eater to Eat Vegetables?
Most mothers have found they usually can get their picky eater to eat using one or a combination of methods.
Here are some you should try out:
1) Keep Trying
It might seem like bad advice suggesting you keep giving your toddler vegetables, knowing they will reject it. However, mothers who have gone this route have reported improvements the more they tried to get their toddlers to accept this food type.
It didn’t happen immediately, but the toddlers became used to the veggies and ate a little more each time it was put in front of them.
2) Make Cooking Time Fun Time
You could also try getting your toddler involved in the meal preparation. They are likely to be interested in something they had a hand in preparing
3) Serve Vegetables First
Seeing as she will be a lot hungrier at this time, you should serve vegetables as the first meal. She’s likely to finish the vegetables or at least take enough to get the nutrients needed from it.
4) Sneak Vegetables into Meals
You also want to try sneaking in one or more vegetables into other meals she loves.
You can get creative and blend or puree these vegetables, and she’ll never know the difference.
Some creative ways to sneak these veggies in include:
- Making a smoothie using one or more vegetables like cucumber, spinach, or kale alongside other sweet veggies or fruits she loves.
- Making a sauce by mixing some of these veggies and a few of her favorites.
- Puree the vegetables and add to soups or vegetables.
- Hide them in pancakes or waffles.
5) Give Her Sweet Vegetables
You could also throw in some sweet vegetables like corn, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, tomatoes, or peas, ones her taste buds will readily accept. She gets to eat all without any cajoling on your part and also gets all the beneficial nutrients—a win-win for everyone.
6) Play Around with the Food
If your child is picky because she’s bored with the food, then a little creativity should get her interest and desire to eat right on track.
You should look into making eating time a fun time. Play around with the food and come up with exciting shapes and color combinations that will capture her interest.
7) Mix Up Her Snack Time
You also want to look into mixing up her snacks with a few vegetables.
Some good snack choices for toddlers include thinly sliced apples, bananas, melon, thawed frozen peas, applesauce, cottage cheese, the list is endless.
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