Updated: Jan 27
We spend so much time thinking about how to introduce foods to our baby during that first year of life and what foods were offering that sometimes we forget to think about those toddler years. Mealtimes may be going smoothly and all of a sudden you notice a shift in how and what your toddler is eating.
Has your once adventurous eater started to eat less variety?
Has your toddler been eating less at mealtime?
Has your toddler refused a whole meal entirely?
Has your child started to show an interest in carbs and sweeter foods?
Are you having a hard time getting your toddler to stay at the table for meals?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions you have probably felt some form of stress around mealtimes with your toddler. Well we’re here to tell you not to worry too much just yet. It can be completely normal for your toddler to go through a phase anywhere from 18 months to 2 years where they demonstrate different behaviors during mealtimes including becoming a “selective” eater.
In general, a toddler’s growth begins to slow which means their overall daily intake also decreases during this time. This means that your toddler might only eat one or two good meals a day so do not be alarmed if they skip a meal all together! It could also mean that they take 1-2 bites of a meal before saying “all done”. Similar to adults your toddler will have days where they eat less and some days where they will eat more. It can help to look at what they eat throughout a whole week rather than on a daily basis.
Toddlers are very active little ones and it can be very difficult to get them to sit at the table to eat, especially for an entire meal. Be sure not to invite your toddler to the table until the meal is ready and make sure that their seat is supportive and includes a foot rest for them. Also try to have realistic expectations for how long you expect your toddler to sit at the table. Most times we do not see a toddler sitting for a meal for more than 5-10 minutes at most. If your child is done and requests to leave the table, allow them to play on their own while the family finishes their meal.
It is no lie that navigating through the toddler eating stage can be a struggle at times. They may eat a food one day and the next day tell you “no - yuck”. The important thing to remember is be consistent, offer structure, and continue to follow the Division of Responsibility. Continue to offer your child a variety of different foods even if they refuse them but be careful not to pressure them to try them. Continue to model eating new foods and have structured family mealtimes.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks to learn more about how to manage your child's picky eating habits with our new webinar releasing February 1st!