I had every intention of writing a heartfelt blog on why I decided to add health and wellness coaching to my repertoire, BUT, let’s just get to the nitty gritty. Let’s get to some real life stuff here–FEEDING A TODDLER.
Don’t get me wrong, I am passionate about feeding my family healthy foods. I want SO badly for my toddler to get the memo that I am putting some pretty awesome selections in front of her. She, however, isn’t having it.
Exhibit A: Breakfast (before served)
Organic eggs w/ organic white cheddar cheese
1/2 a piece of sprouted grain bread
Exhibit B: Breakfast being “eaten”
Exhibit C: After breakfast (she’s done, can’t you tell?)
Exhibit D: Toddler yelling “Mama, mama!” whilst Mama is trying to eat her own breakfast.
Needless to say, this is a frustrating and common scene with a toddler in the home. Does it mean I am going to stop making healthy foods and regularly presenting them to her? Nope. Do I ALWAYS make a meal like this for her? Nope. Do you think I am some sort of saint?!
After this meal I simply put the eggs in the fridge, ate the berries myself and gave the toast to the dog. Side note: she said she wanted eggs and toast for lunch. I reheated the eggs and made new toast and she refused to eat them both [insert eye roll emoji].
The point of this whole she-bang is to encourage you tired mamas (and dads) not to give up!
Here are a few tactics that I have found helpful when dealing with a finicky eater:
Let them graze/Use a nibble tray
Your toddler may get full after eating just a little bit of food (their stomach is the size of their fist). If they ask for snacks throughout the day have 2 or 3 healthy options available. My go to snacks are greek yogurt, hummus and/or mini Larabars. Dr. Sears also recommends presenting an ice cube tray, muffin tin or compartmentalized dish filled with nutritious finger foods for kids to nibble on while
destroying the house playing.
Invite a friend over
I finally got my toddler to eat meat because she saw her friend eating meat. It sounds so simple but it works!
Eat healthy foods yourself
Toddlers learn by example. They need to see YOU eating plenty of nutritious foods. If you are encouraging them to eat their broccoli while you are sitting on the sidelines eating chips, it may not go over well.
Let’s face it, food is just more fun when you get to play with it. Allow your toddler to dip fruits, veggies or whole grain items into hummus, nut butter, greek yogurt or guacamole.
Let them “do it themselves”
“I do it myself” is a common phrase in our household. I’ve found when I let my daughter use the huge fork or hold the bowl herself she is more likely to eat.
Try blending some yummy fruits, veggies, ice and kefir/greek yogurt/milk into a smoothie and maybe your toddler will drink his or her nutrients. My favorite mix is avocado, banana, blueberry, spinach, almond milk and ice.
Let them help
My daughter recently picked green beans from a garden and beamed with pride when I made them for dinner. She only took one bite before she threw them down but hey, that’s progress. Just remember, your little one may have to be exposed to a food 10-15 times before he/she will eat it. DON’T GIVE UP!
Let’s face it, you can’t force your kid to eat something. If they refuse, take some deep breaths and sing a few verses of an uplifting song (my go to is Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood). The whole deep breaths and song thing also works when kids: crap their pants, climb out of their crib, won’t go to sleep, eat food from the dog’s bowl, etc…
If all else fails, make a really delicious lunch for yourself after your toddler has refused to eat. Sit down on the living room floor and wait for your little one to stand next to you and say “bite?” until they have inadvertently finished your meal.
If you’re interested in learning more about feeding your family (or yourself) nutritious foods, please check out my Services page or contact me directly. I look forward to hearing from you!Check out my services
What’s your favorite trick to get your toddler to eat healthy foods? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!