Friday, May 6, 2011

How to Please Picky Eaters

Feeding toddlers can be challenging. They are often picky eaters, are hesitant to try new foods, and in general, don't seem to eat very much.   
Toddlers aren't growing as fast as they were during their first year of life and so have lower energy needs (the amount of calories per kg of their body weight) and smaller appetites. So if your child is active, healthy, and growing and developing normally, then he/she is likely getting plenty to eat.
It can also help to avoid common mistakes, such as:
· drinking more than 16-24 ounces of milk each day.
· drinking more than 4-6 ounces of juice each day.
· letting your child fill up on sweets and snacks.
· forcing your child to eat when he/she isn't hungry.
· Giving servings that are too big. The average toddler serving is going to be about 1/4 of an adult serving size.  

The average toddler needs about 1300 calories each day. A good rule of thumb is that your toddler will need about 40 calories each day for each inch of his height.   

While you should provide three well-balanced meals each day, it is important to keep in mind that most younger children will only eat one or two full meals each day. If you toddler has had a good breakfast and lunch, then it is okay that he doesn't want to eat much at dinner.

Although your child will probably be hesitant to try new foods, you should still offer small amounts of them once or twice a week (one tablespoon of green beans, for example). Research shows that most children will try a new food after being offered it 10-15 times

Other ways to prevent feeding problems are to not use food as a bribe or reward for desired behaviors, avoid punishing your child for not eating well, limit mealtime conversation to positive and pleasant topics, avoid discussing or commenting on your child's poor eating habits while at the table, limit eating and drinking to the table or high chair, and limit snacks to two nutritious snacks each day. 

Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters
-          Sticker charts usually work best from around 2 years. Keep portions absolutely minuscule and at first give a sticker for just trying the food
-           Play a game where you blindfold your child and give him/her several foods to taste -- some old favorites and some new -- and see if he/she can identify what they are!
-          Create your own “Healthy Junk Food”
-          Let them be involved in the planning and preparation of a meal 
-          Disguise vegetables by blending them into a tomato sauce, brownie/cake mix, etc. 


Please reference:

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