Trying to ensure your fussy toddler gets the proper nutrition can be a mission. It can be an exasperating and stressful experience, particularly when your child has a finicky appetite.
Here are a few handy hints to try and make meal times a little less stressful so you can relax knowing your toddler is not missing out on any essential vitamins and nutrients.
Graze on bite-sized foods
Toddlers rarely sit still for anything, even food. Grazing throughout the day is more suited to their active lifestyle rather than sitting them down to a full-size meal. Try providing a selection of bite-sized foods and get wildly creative with naming them. For example: Broccoli florets might become gum trees, small cubes of cheese become house bricks.
If your toddler would rather drink than eat, then don’t stress too much. Use a formula supplement — something like S-26 Gold Toddler is a delicious vanilla milk drink with all the necessary nutrition. It’s a good source of omega-3, iron, B vitamins and lutein, an antioxidant found to help with eye development. It’s available from leading supermarkets.
Get versatile with veggies
- Disguise vegetables.
- Camouflage veggies with your child’s favourite sauce.
- Chop raw veggies into bite-size pieces.
- Make vegetable shape faces with salad greens using lettuce for hair, a slice of tomato for a big smile and thinly sliced and cooked carrot for eyelashes.
Get green fingers
Involve your toddler with planting a vegetable garden, picking the veggies and helping prepare them. Chances are they will get more excited about eating something they have helped grow and nuture.
Use cookie cutters
You can utilise cookie cutters to turn thin slices of melon into interesting shapes or transform sandwiches into the shape of gingerbread men, hearts or stars.
Icy poles are a favourite treat for most toddlers. This is a great way of sneakily getting fresh fruit into their diet. Try using watermelon, bananas or strawberries in juice or yoghurt and freeze them into icy pops.
Play hide and seek
Get sneaky and play hide and seek with vegetables. This is easily done by grating or pureeing vegetables into fritters and pancakes or using them as sauces for pasta or pizza bases.
Cut everything up into bite-size pieces or interesting shapes.
Be a shining example
Lead by example. If you expect your toddler to reach for a glass of water instead of reaching for a juice pack or fizzy drink, then you need to be drinking water too. If you must indulge your sweet tooth, wait until they are tucked up safely in bed.