How to Handle Picky Eaters: Toddler Approved Ways

woman showing apple and bitten doughnut

Every parent’s worst nightmare is when they have to deal with picky toddler eaters. As a parent, you would do everything you can to make your children eat healthily. But what should you do if you have mastered making a picky eater food list, yet your child still does not want to eat? 

There is not one picky eater toddler meal plan that would work with every kid. What you can do instead is to learn to understand why your child is a picky eater. 

Why are picky eaters picky? 

Did you know that children are born with the ability to use sweetness to reduce pain? A study proved the reason why infants love breast milk because of its sweetness. Babies use their mother’s milk as pain relievers and to help them grow. 

On the other hand, they do not like bitter tastes to protect them from eating poisonous substances. Weird yet makes sense? So if your child hates bitter gourd, there is nothing to blame but science. 

To top it off, your child’s taste buds change now and then. So this explains why one week, your child loves your fried chicken and then hates it the week after. Your child is not being picky on purpose, because it has to do with their changing taste buds. 

How to help picky eaters?

You must have been in search of picky eater toddler ideas on the web, only to find out that they still do not match your child’s preferences. You then become frustrated because you thought they would love the new menu. 

The truth is, there is not one best food for picky eaters you can find. Much like adults, children have different tastes (pun intended) when it comes to food choices. What can you do instead? I have listed down some of the things that have worked (and are still working) with my toddler. Check them out, because maybe they would work with your child too.  

Make everyday meals fun

I know that you are busy and have no time to make cute bento boxes with cut-out sandwiches. But you can make everyday meals fun without having to make cute cartoon characters out of food. However, if you can, then why not? 

One thing you can do to make meals fun is by adding a garlic mayo dip (my son loves this) alongside their nuggets. Have you tried serving their favorite fruits together with their main meal? Why not add their favorite cookie to their plate? 

One thing that is also very helpful is by removing stress while eating. And that brings you to the next step. 

Never force picky eaters to eat

Saying “just one bite” to your toddler will not make her eat more. What can you do instead? Saying and doing nothing is the best way to handle picky eaters. You might be tempted to force your child to eat because you believe that they need all the nutrients they can get. 

In contrast, letting your child decide when and what to eat is the best way. It lets your child know how to regulate their body cues. If you let them decide when to eat, they learn to trust their bodies for signs of hunger. As a result, they avoid overeating and stop when they feel full. 

Try and try 

What foods should picky eater try? Everything you can serve! Try to offer food at least ten times. A study proved that offering vegetables many times can help toddlers accept their taste. The same goes for other food groups. 

There are days when my toddler does not eat the food I offer him, yet there are days when he finishes everything on his plate. Children are like adults, there are times you like a certain food, yet there are days when you don’t feel like eating the same food. 

Either way, consistently offering new and old food could help your child eat. You will never know when your child would clear up his plate. 

Let kids join in preparing meals

Kids like to know that they have control over their life. When your child joins meal preparation, they might want to have a taste of what they have cooked. While this may help your picky eaters eat, do note that it might not be always successful. 

Always include a favorite food

My son loves potatoes and noodles. When serving his lunch or dinner, I make sure to include either one to get him to eat. Even though there are times he only eats his carbs, I don’t mind. What matters is that I got him interested in eating. 

The Takeaway

Many parents get stressed when they do not know how to handle picky eaters. There was also a time when I and my husband were also unhappy about our toddler being picky. However, upon research, we learned that there are better ways to deal with picky toddler eaters. 

Thankfully, after following the steps above, our child has now regained his appetite. I hope this article has helped you and your child have a great mealtime relationship. Do you know another parent that has the same problem? Why not share this article with them? Happy eating! 

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