5 Tips for Feeding the Un-Feedable Toddler
Feeding your child should not be a battle. But it is. Why? Because… toddler.
These tiny little humans have the biggest personality that is only matched by their stubbornness. If B has all the sudden decided that “green” food is no longer in his repertoire, there is absolutely no way I will be able to change his mind. What to do, then? Just wait it out.
WHAT?! Wait it out? You mean he doesn’t have to eat green food anymore? Yep, that’s right! The boy won’t starve, I promise. He’s done this before and he’ll do it again. Last time it was any food at all whatsoever that he refused to eat! At dinner time, that is. In the morning? He’d devour an entire carton of hard boiled eggs if I let him!
I won’t pretend that I have this whole toddler dinner time thing conquered, but I’d love to share some tips and tricks that have helped us.
1 Don’t argue about it. Dinner time shouldn’t be stressful, so if he says he isn’t eating tonight, just agree! Leave the plate on the table so if he wants something, it’s there. When B doesn’t eat dinner he has two options. He may either sit nicely at the table with the family or he needs to leave the room and play quietly alone. Alone is boring, so he will usually stay at the table and eventually take a bite.
Just two nights ago we were having leftover Chicken & Veggie Casserole for dinner. This was a meal B had not eaten the first time around, so I really didn’t have much hope for the second serving. He surprised me when he decided, with only a bit of suggesting, to start eating! “Ooh, mommy, it’s yummy!” Well, no kidding… jeez. And he finished an entire bowl full of chicken, broccoli and cauliflower smothered in cheese.
2 Offer a variety. We usually try to have 3 parts to our dinners- a protein, a veggie, and a starch. If I’m fairly certain one or two aren’t going to go over well for Mr. Picky Pants, I’ll make sure the third is one of his favorites. Example: Honey Lime Tilapia, steamed broccoli, and cheesy rice. Fish and broccoli are hit or miss, so I added a cheesy rice on the side. Much to my surprise, he ate everything! Especially when I mixed it all together. There’s something about cheesy rice that makes everything taste good, lol.
3 Turn it into a game. This is something the Hubs is really good at. He will pretend to put together bites from B’s plate for himself, and then B will take the spoon and eat it! He thinks he’s getting away with something sneaky, which is hilarious.
Another fun game is guessing spoon or fork. We’ll load up each with a bite and the only way to see which one is which is for B to take the bite! Works well with already established “good” food, not so much with new things. He thinks it’s pretty funny, because Mom & Dad always guess wrong. Yeah… sure…
Eating carrots has also turned into a game… I call B my horsey and he will eat a carrot piece out of my hand. Gotta be careful, though… sometimes that little horsey can bite! Lol.
4 Use fun kitchen tools. This tip came quite by accident. We were having my Mom’s birthday dinner at the cottage and made corn on the cob over a campfire. Corn on the cob means corn holders, right? And corn holders are actually toddler silverware, right? Lol, well now they are for B.
Ever since that day, whenever we have something “poke-able” for dinner, he gets to use the corn pokers. Because, ya know, that makes sense. Also, toothpicks are for eating rolling up ham pieces and cheese squares.
5 Hiding foods. B went through a phase where any and all quesadillas were amazing. And we took full advantage of it. We make regular cheese and black bean quesadillas, chicken stir fry quesadillas, and even pulled pork quesadillas! I think he may have caught onto this, though, but we’ll be coming back to it soon.
I mentioned this one above, but you can hide just about anything in cheesy rice! This is our go to method for hiding fish, although B has been known to scarf down an adult sized portion of grilled salmon. The boy surprises us on a daily basis.
Whatever method you choose to feed your crazy toddler, just know that their lack of eating has no reflection on your abilities to parent! Just keep trying, and offering new things here and there, and you’ll be doing a great job.
I’d love to hear from you! What are your tried and true tricks to feed your toddler?