Feeding a toddler can be frustrating for a parent. They can be cautious to try new foods, picky, and inconsistent with their eating. Toddlers need the same variety of nutrient-rich foods that older kids and adults need-just in smaller portions. Here are 3 smart tips to help parents:
- Be a smart shopper. Our grocery store aisles are filled with convenience foods that make our hectic life easier. The concern with some of these toddler convenience foods is that they are high in sodium and low in nutrition. These foods will appeal to their sweet/salty desires and we want to try to build a good foundation of various foods with different tastes. They are also high in price because you are paying for the convenience factor.
- Be toddler smart. Toddlers like to be independent and feed themselves. Our job as parents is to provide the healthy foods and set the meal times and snacks while their job as the toddler is to decide how much they will eat. Try to make “fun foods” that are appealing to toddlers visually and their desire to be independent.
- Be nutrition smart. Choose high-quality nutrient-rich foods that provide the nutrients toddlers need such as calcium and fiber. With a little planning ahead, you can make your own healthy foods that are also “quick and easy.”
Remember to keep yourself calm when feeding your toddler. Understand that they will be slow to eat unfamiliar foods but keep trying. It can often take children 18-20 times of being exposed to a food before they will try it. As the parent, be patient and persistent while avoiding the trap of the convenience foods for toddlers.