One day you wake up, and IT has happened. That cute little blob has turned into an opinionated toddler whose first bout of independence comes in the form of “NO” and spitting or throwing food in disgust! Keeping those tiny human beings we raise fed can be a chore. Here are some tips to help during the picky eater phase.
Remember, it is about independence.
We learned early on that our little one liked to be in control. His protest wasn’t necessarily WHAT he was being fed, but rather HOW he was being fed. He much preferred feeding himself. It did not matter that he couldn’t get most of it to his mouth. The satisfaction and pride he felt getting something, anything to reach his mouth was nourishment enough.
Finger foods are your friend!
Referencing point number one, finger foods promote independence (with hopefully less mess.) It is much more likely that most of the food is making its way to its designated destination, and finger foods can, typically, be left out for longer periods of time. We found that if a food offer was declined but left out in reach, our little one would often make his way back to it when he thought no one was looking.
Buy in bulk and freeze, freeze, freeze!
This has single-handedly saved me some days. I try to shop once a month with the exception of milk and fresh produce. This means that most of our family meals and snacks are planned out ahead of time, which can cause a lot of frustration during the picky eater stage. Our little one would fall in love with something, so naturally I would go buy the bulk version only for him to decide two days later that he hated it. Having a stockpile of choices can give variety, without breaking the budget, when your toddler is being finicky.
Bonus tip: Freeze things that defrost quickly or can be warmed straight from its freezer state.
Do NOT be afraid of repetition.
Fed is fed is fed. If he likes it, I love it. And just because I’m tired of preparing it, doesn’t mean he’s tired of eating it. “They” say mix it up, but when your kid is going through a phase you are NEVER going to win that battle! And honestly, it’s not a battle worth fighting. Sweet potatoes, yogurt and bananas are always on the menu in this house!
Food fights are only fun in the movies. Make sure you are consulting with your pediatrician, but if there are no health concerns – please don’t stress yourself out. Kids will balance themselves out for the most part. If they only want one real meal today, they’ll likely want four tomorrow. Just try to make sure those meals are as nutritionally packed as possible, and check out this post for some easy tips to mix in those veggies!