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Tips for dealing with fussy eaters - Handling picky toddlers

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Getting your toddler to eat

Do you find yourself pulling out you hair when it's mealtime for your toddler? Many toddlers are fussy eaters, but it doesn't have to be a major struggle to get your kids to eat healthy foods.

Picky eater

Some toddlers are fussy by nature and very picky about their food. Many kids don't like certain foods touching each other, while others simply refuse to eat particular foods. If you find yourself stressing out when it's time to feed your toddler, you can do several things to help make eating more enjoyable for both of you.


Don't Force Toddlers to Eat

Eating should be a relaxed and enjoyable time. If you force feed your toddler, he will associate food with unpleasantness. Because of his unhappy experience, the cycle of refusing food will continue. After a set period of time if he doesn't eat, simply take the plate away.

Cut Back on Drinks

Your toddler might be full at lunch or dinner because he drinks too much juice or milk throughout the day. Don't let your child fill up on drinks around mealtimes and dilute his juice with water to avoid too much sugar.

Let Toddlers Help

Allow your child to help in preparation of food. He can use a spoon to mix batter, help wash fresh fruits and vegetables, and even help set the table. Let your toddler help choose the menu by asking simple questions such as, "Should we have peas or carrots?" If your toddler feels like he is the once making the choices, he will be more apt to eat the food.

Eat With Your Kids

If all the concentration is on getting your child to eat, he could be playing mind games with you to keep your undivided attention. Instead of devoting all your to feeding your toddler, let him eat for himself. Cut his food into manageable size chunks and then eat your own food. If you don't give food so much negative attention, neither will he.

Start With Small Portions

Some studies show that it takes seven to ten attempts for a toddler to accept a new food. If you know your child dislikes peas, just place a few of them on his plate rather than overwhelming him with a large portion. He may be more apt to try (and like) them if there is only a few available.

Don't Give In

Don't offer your children junk food as an alternative to a meal. Junk food has very little nutritional value and should not be a substitute for healthy eating. If your child isn't hungry enough to eat his carrots, he shouldn't be hungry enough to eat cookies either.

Disguise Nutritious Foods

Sometimes it's acceptable to trick your toddler into eating healthy foods. Vegetables and other nutritious foods can be made into soup or even baked into breads. Several books are available that offer recipes for picky eaters, such as Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.

Healthy Kids

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