Toddlers with bad eating habits?

(March 24, 2010)

Toddlers generally start making a fuss to eat during their pre school years. They complain about or refuse to eat certain foods, especially vegetables and meat. They may push food around their plates, or hide food or give them to pets.

There are several methods to deal with bad eating habits in toddlers. The best way to encourage good eating habits is to ensure that the family eats meals together, around the dining table. Make meal time a family event that helps to strengthen family bonds. If your child refuses to eat the main dish and this is not a usual practice, make an allowance and give him a substitute. However, make it clear that you will not prepare extra foods in future just because the child does not like what is put on the table. Make fast food a special treat and not part of the regular diet. Keep healthy food and snacks at home so that there are nutritious foods available at all times. Teach your toddler about food and how it grows. Encourage him/her to plant/grow a few fruits and vegetables.

In all likelihood, children will enjoy eating peas, strawberries, onions, tomatoes and squash if they have grown them themselves. Involve your toddler in making a simple salad by letting him stir the ingredients- he may be more willing to try foods he has made. Encourage cooking in pretending play - buy a kitchen set or give them small utensils to use. Teach toddlers to pretend to feed their dolls or stuffed toys. This may persuade them to do the same when it is their mealtime. Make sure that your child follows a regular routine when it comes to meals and snacks. Fruits and homemade biscuits are excellent snack options for toddlers. Do not fret if they fuss over vegetables. Encourage them to eat more fruits as vegetables and fruits belong to the same food group. You can also make salads that include fruits as the sweet flavor of the fruits would encourage your child to have larger servings of the salad. Mangoes, apples, and pears are some of the fruits that are often included in salads. Do not force your child to try new foods but instead let them follow your example.

Most children are willing to try new foods if they see that their parents are having the same food. To get your toddler to have a new fruit of vegetable, you can cut it into small pieces and place it in a bowl and have one piece and feed one to your child. Another effective way of introducing new healthy food options is to mix a new food along with food the toddler is already used to. For example, if your child is used to carrots and cucumbers but has never had tomatoes, you can add a very small quantity of finely chopped tomatoes to a carrot and cucumber salad. Once your child accepts the new taste, you can increase the amount of tomatoes in the salad. Make sure that the increase is very gradual. Make meal time a fun time. Lay a rug out on the floor occasionally; try reading a story during the meal. Do not bribe them for eating properly. Children should learn to eat well in order to satisfy their appetite, and not to please their parents. It is ok to praise them occasionally for trying out a new food

Submitted by P T on March 24, 2010 at 03:46

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