Here’s an ABC.com interview with Dr. Alan Greene, a leading pediatrician who has written some of the most useful books on Raising Baby Green and Feeding Baby Green, on how to get picky toddlers to eat.
Here are my 3 take aways from his interview:
1) Relax: As parents we all worry about maximizing the amount of calories our children eat but in reality toddlers from 1-3 years of age actually need very little to eat. A 3 year old only needs about 1100 calories and if they are consuming milk 3 times a day they are atleast getting 500-600 calories.
2) Take Control of the situation: Remember you are the boss. Don’t give in if they are not eating and let them eat the unhealthy stuff. Don’t bribe them. I.e. You can have chocolate if you finish your vegetables as that shifts the focus on the wrong stuff. I know I am guilty of this in the past but now I say something to along the lines of, “if you don’t try this then I am going to put this in your mouth”. Not sure if this is the right way to go either but it sounds better than you can have cake once you are done eating.
3) Aim for Foods that they need based on their developmental stage: Let the children get messy. By playing with food, they get a feel for different textures and see cause and effect. I know my daughter was very messy when she was 1 but she really did enjoy playing with her food. We also eat what she eat and try to eat atleast 1-2 meals a day together during the week.
Lastly, remember that it does take children to try something 11 times before they like something. So don’t give up if your toddler is refusing to eat something. Click here to see the actual interview.
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