That little personality is shining through more and more each day as your child enjoys newfound independence. He’s communicating his feelings—on food and everything else—with words, gestures … and sometimes tantrums. By serving your toddler healthy snacks at the same times each day, and repeatedly exposing him to nutritious foods, you’re giving your opinionated toddler the fuel he needs to grow up to be a healthy eater. Plus, you’re doing yourself a favor by helping avoid future tantrums.
Here are two of the most important tips for feeding your child at this age.
What? Healthy snacks for toddlers should be nutritionally balanced to fuel them until the next meal (and prevent the dreaded pre-dinner meltdown). Aim to pair two to three food groups for a well-rounded snack—for example, yogurt with fresh berries or cheese and crackers.
When? In addition to three meals, provide two or three healthy kid’s snacks per day on a consistent schedule. If your tot grazes throughout the day, or fills up on juice or sugary drinks between meals, she’s more likely to fling that delicious casserole on the wall than eat it. At snack time and between meals, give only water.
Where? The best place to serve healthy snacks for kids is at a table, without distracting screens or toys. Your child will pay more attention to her fullness or hunger cues, and as a bonus, there will be fewer surfaces for sticky fingerprints and spills.
For more tips on toddler snacking, click here.
A little picky eating is normal at this age. The best thing you can do is be patient and practice positive food parenting. Many kids need to be offered a food 15 to 20 times before trying and liking it. Serve your child new foods without putting too much pressure on him. Bribing with rewards—like dessert—only creates an unnecessary power struggle. Check out this article for more tips on getting your toddler to try new foods.
And don’t forget to lead by example. The best way to encourage a toddler to try a new food is to eat it in front of him, again and again and again. Somebody please pass the peas!