Getting your toddler to eat nutritious food can be a battle at every meal. But if you start building good nutritional habits at a very young age, you can set the stage for fewer dinnertime battles. (And could even end up with one of those kids who devours broccoli. Hey, it could happen!) So we asked our friends at Sprout Foods to share their top tips for picky eaters to help your baby develop a healthy relationship with food. Here’s what they had to say.
The best advice for picky eaters
Update old favorites.
Who doesn’t love mac ‘n cheese? Throw some cooked carrots or butternut squash into the noodles and instantly add a new level of nutrition. This also allows picky eaters to be introduced to ‘strange’ vegetables without being forced out of their comfort zone.
Create a kids pantry.
Let your picky eater decide what’s for dinner by providing them with a bowl or basket filled with healthy options for them to choose. You might end up eating apples, corn, and toast for dinner but they gain independence and you gain peace of mind.
Have more family meals.
If your picky eater is eating either in a different location or at a different time than the rest of the family, they might not be grasping the family meal concept. Nurture healthy habits by eating together. Your child will better understand how food is prepared and that the meal is something to enjoy not dread.
An important baby feeding tip [that can help prevent picky eaters later on: Allow picky eaters to take a taste of new foods rather than forcing them to eat an entire serving. This way, children can be accustomed to new flavors in a non-threatening way. They will begin to enjoy the taste of pureed carrot, for example, and won’t be horrified when they are introduced to a cooked carrot later in life.
Make a grocery list together.
Allow your picky eater to write and draw items they want to shop for at the store. Make a rule that only one item can come in a package and everything else must be something that ‘grows’. This allows independence again, but also allows children to start developing preferences for healthy items rather than packaged foods.