Kids of all ages can be difficult to feed, but toddlers are especially notorious for their fussy eating habits. Some toddlers go on extended hunger strikes for no apparent reason, while others get stuck on certain foods and refuse anything else for months on end. Handle a food crisis with a fussy toddler can be hard work, but these issues can be overcome.
If you’ve got a toddler who will happily tuck into a grilled cheese sandwich 3 times a day for weeks at a time but refuses to eat anything else at all, you’re not alone. Toddlers love their home comforts, and they’ll often gravitate toward familiar foods that they know and love rather than trying something new.
Making a huge fuss out of your child’s newfound obsession with a particular food will only serve to make it worse. A stubborn toddler can put up a strong resistance when they set their mind to something, so forcing other foods can just leave you in an endless power struggle. As long as your child is still eating enough then there’s no real need to panic. They will eventually get sick of whatever their favorite food was and move on to something else, you just have to give it time.
If you really get tired of serving up the grilled cheese sandwiches, there are certain strategies you can try out that don’t involve physically forcing your child to eat something different. Try giving them some options in the supermarket- show them new, fun looking foods and let them pick out things that appeal to them.
At home, ask your little one to help out in the kitchen with mixing, preparation and cooking. If they’ve taken part in the preparation of the meal then they may be more interested in tasting their creations.
Once your child is old enough to figure out that vegetables are good for them, they may inexplicably decide that they don’t like them. There may be certain veggies that your toddler genuinely doesn’t like- try offering a range of options to check that it’s the food group in general that you’re toddler is refusing rather than one particular flavor.
For moms that have a toddler that really can’t stand vegetables, hiding them in other favorite dishes is usually the easiest way to get those nutrients in unnoticed. Puree some vegetables and add them to pasta sauce, hide peas in bite of macaroni cheese and add vegetables to juice smoothies for a refreshing afternoon snack.
Some toddlers prefer to eat vegetables as a fun finger food rather than part of a main meal. Make tasty snacks with mini carrot sticks and red pepper- most toddlers love these vegetables when dipped in hummus or other dips. Experiment with combinations until you find one that your child will accept.
If you’re really battling with your toddler and are worried that they’re not getting all of the vitamins they need, your first port of call should definitely be your family doctor. They’ll usually recommend a high quality multi-vitamin that will supplement your child’s diet until they’re willing to accept a wider range of healthy foods.