Feeding kids can be an everyday struggle, at all ages. From infant, to toddler, to adolescent, to teen and beyond! Every child has different eating habits, likes and dislikes, and different eating needs, as they grow. I would say, so far, for our house, the toddler age is the most difficult. With toddlers, they are becoming more independent, forming their own opinions on things, and “attempting” to make their own decisions. They only want to eat candy, brownies, ice cream, and chips. Anything that’ll put them into a “Carb Coma,” is typically the only things that my toddlers want to eat, willingly.
I’m going to start with serving sizes for toddlers. I found myself, even with my background in nutrition, needing to google this, so, I think that it’ll be extremely helpful!
Personally, I am definitely guilty of putting more food on their plate than they need. Which, I think, can become overwhelming for the kids. This chart definitely makes you think more about how much the child actually needs for their little belly.
Tips and Tricks:
- Keep things simple. I feel like my kids do better when I give them whole foods rather than a meal that is mixed together (ie: casseroles). If I put a protein, carbohydrate, and fruit/vegetable on their plate, all nicely separated, they seem to be more apt to try each of them.
- Make use of healthy toppings or dips. I’ll add shredded cheese to cooked foods, like veggies or eggs, or put out a dish of hummus for the kids to dip their fresh veggies in. My kids LOVE hummus, so it’s a super easy and healthy option to get those veggies gone!
- Trick your kids! I’ve been known to sneak vegetables and fruits into foods that they think are treats! Pancakes are so easy to throw anything into but I normally put in some pumpkin and cinnamon, and they honestly have no idea. They just think the orange pancakes are fun! Any baked goods, like muffins and cookies are easy to sneak foods into. Smoothies are also a great option! There are a million recipes and ideas on Pinterest, so check some out!
- Keep trying! Even if your kids don’t like something, try, try again! The more they see it on their plate, the more chance they will try it. Also, try cooking foods in different ways, grill it, bake it, sauté it. If they don’t like it one way, it doesn’t mean that they won’t like it another way!
- Get them involved! My son loves to help me in the kitchen, so getting him involved with meals is something that I try to do as often as I can. It helps him learn about cooking and foods but also encourages him to try the foods, since he is proud of being able to be the one to prepare it.
- Make it fun too! I know we shouldn’t “play with our food” but counting or making a color game at meal times can be helpful 🙂
Does anyone have any other tips or resources for toddler nutrition? Or any other age child?