Toddlers are notoriously picky
eaters. They may only eat a few foods, then abruptly refuse them. Toddlers also
have rapidly changing appetites. Although toddlers grow steadily throughout
their second year, their growth rates are less dramatic than during the first
year, which often is reflected in how much they eat. Children this age may eat
robustly one day and very little the next, but they usually eat the right
amount to meet their caloric needs.
Toddlers are just beginning to understand that they can make their
own decisions. Their need for independence and control often interferes with
mealtime and eating.
There are two basic "rules" for feeding your child:
You decide what, when, and where to feed your
Your child decides how, when, and whether to eat.
More specifically, it can help to:
Find at least one food from each food group that
your child likes and make sure it is readily available most of the time.
Children tend to accept new foods gradually, and you may have to introduce a
food many times before your child actually tries it.
nutrition for your children. Do not regularly keep less nutritious foods (for
example, those that have large amounts of fats or sugar) in the house. If you
eat these foods but try to withhold them from your toddler, the child will
learn that these foods are highly desirable. The child may sneak these foods,
beg for them, or simply view them as wonderful.
Limit the amount of
fruit juice you give your child. Many beverages sold as juice are mostly water
and sugar with a little juice. Even 100% real fruit juice does not have the
valuable fiber that whole fruit has.
You can help prevent mealtime battles by planning ahead and being
aware of common issues.
Provide a variety of nutritious foods for
children, at reasonably timed meals and in a proper meal environment (a family
gathering place where meals are shared).
Allow your child to
select which foods to eat from among those you have provided. Let your child
decide when he or she is finished eating. Stay out of these
Don't use food as a reward.
Consider family meals to be pleasant social events that
bring the family together, not functional events at which a child feels
obligated to eat.
Let hunger, not rules or pleading or
bargaining, determine what and how much your child eats (within the boundaries
of what you make available).
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.