Let’s be honest–toddlers are picky eaters. Their eating schedules are unpredictable, and they have no problem refusing to eat. They like what they like, and if you try to introduce them to new foods, or force them to eat, you may encounter problems in the form of tears, sad faces and worse–spitting out the food. Don’t be deterred–with proper planning and encouragement, you can get your toddler to enjoy healthy meals.
Before day care or your morning walk, attempt to feed your toddler some breakfast. Try a breakfast such as whole-grain pancakes with a tablespoon of apple sauce, and see how your toddler responds. Eggs provide the protein toddlers need and can be served boiled or scrambled with a sprinkle of cheese. Pair the eggs with a couple of blueberries or a slice of raisin bread. For a quick breakfast, try warm or cold cereal topped with your toddler’s favorite fruit. Keeping Kids Healthy, a parenting website, suggests serving children 4 oz. of orange juice with their breakfast.
When your toddler is ready to eat his second meal of the day, be prepared with a healthy lunch. Prepare a half of grilled cheese on whole-grain bread, and add veggies such as avocado, tomatoes, broccoli florets or asparagus to it. Or make a sandwich with cheese and lunch meat. Use a cookie cutter to cut the sandwich into a unique shape. Pair either of these with a small portion of fruit.
Or, offer your toddler a nibble tray, as suggested on Ask Dr. Sears, a parenting website. The site suggests placing a variety of colorful foods inside of a dish or container that has compartments. Put a small portion of one item in each compartment. Include things such as crackers, cheese, cereal and fruits. With this option, children get a variety of healthy foods to choose from.
For dinner, give your toddler what you’re eating, unless it contains powerful flavors and spices that may be a bit too much for his taste buds. Try not to make too much extra work for yourself by preparing your toddler one meal and preparing another meal for the rest of the family. Quick, healthy dinner options for your toddler include macaroni and cheese sprinkled with broccoli florets, paired with baked chicken nuggets. Try giving your toddler brown rice mixed with small pieces of chicken and colorful vegetables or a hamburger with a side of sweet potatoes or chopped carrots.