A common worry for many toddler and preschool parents is nutrition. According to the Mayo Clinic, most children do have adequate variety and nutrients over the course of a week. Bear in mind that as growth begins to slow around the age of two or three, the appetite lessons.
Here are some tips to help encourage your finicky eaters:
- Limit distractions and encourage mindfulness during mealtimes.
- Offer variety (even if it is not met with success)
- Limit snacks and calorie-laden drinks between meals
- When possible, offer 2 healthy options
- Allow your child to help make selections at the grocery store and during meal prep
- Do not give into tantrums
- Never use food as a reward or as a negative reinforcement
Be sure your child is getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Visit choosemyplate.gov to learn the daily recommendations. Try adding fruits and vegetables to:
- Baked goods (zucchini, black beans, etc.)
- Add chopped or pureed vegetables into favorites (mac & cheese, potatoes, etc.)
- Add fruits/veggies into breakfast foods (pancakes, muffins, waffles, etc.)
- Make smoothies
- Yogurt parfaits
- Create fruit breakfast pizzas
- Try vegetarian alternatives (i.e. Spaghetti squash for pasta, cauliflower crust for pizza)
Get creative; the possibilities are endless!