Where are my toddler parents at? As Lawson is now 2.5, we have gotten into the phase of being a picky eater. I really hoped it would pass us, considering we did Baby Led Weaning as an infant, but it hasn’t. One day he loves spaghetti meat, the next day he hates it. Two separate meals in a month he loves salmon, the next meal he won’t even let it touch his plate. One day he loves bananas, the next- well, you get the idea. Getting him to eat had become this struggle, and I just wasn’t sure what to do. I did a little research and found some great tips, and thought I’d share them with you. I know I’m not alone here, so at least we are in this together, right?
Picky Toddler Tip #1- Be Respectful. If your picky toddler isn’t hungry, don’t force them to eat a meal or snack. Kids know their bodies! Bribing your toddler to eat foods or clean their plate could create or strengthen a power struggle over foods. Not only that, but mealtime could start to give your child anxiety or frustration. The best thing I’ve found to help is to serve small portions so Lawson isn’t overwhelmed and it gives him the chance to ask for more of what he likes.
Picky Toddler Tip #2- Turn Them Into Tiny Chefs. I love to cook and it’s a great way to model to children how to have healthy meals at home. Lawson loves helping stir, pour, choosing the color bowl or cup to use, and more. When toddlers help in the kitchen, they become proud of what they’ve done, are more likely to eat their food, and less likely to be a picky toddler!
Else is an organic, plant-based complete nutrition drink for toddlers that is dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, corn syrup-free, and non-gmo. We’ve always put Lawson’s nutrition first and made sure he’s gotten organic foods that are non-gmo, and when he started his picky toddler phase, I worried he wasn’t getting all the nutrients his body needed. Else has real whole foods in their natural form (yay!) It also has the 3 important macros (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) that help support growth and development. This was really important to us because phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals are more abundant when they’re from a whole food source.
I’ve been letting Lawson have his “special milk” from Else because we aren’t fans of soy and he only likes almond milk with stevia. Plus, I’m not a fan of giving him juice since they’re just loaded with sugar and don’t have nutrients. I love having an option of something that has a clean label and is plant-based to give him the nutrition he needs on those days when he wants to be picky, and the days when he simply wants something to drink!
As you can see, Lawson LOVES his “special milk” from Else. He kept yelling “Mmm DELICIOUS” when he first tried it, and I would just die laughing. Lawson and I want to share the Else love with you all, so if you head to Else, you can use the code VINTAGE-ELSE25 for 25% off!
Picky Toddler Tip #4- Get Creative With Variety. One thing I’ve learned with Lawson is to not give up on a certain food if he refuses it once. Offering foods in different ways encourages a child to explore new flavors and textures! It can take 10 or more times tasting a food before your toddler’s taste buds accept it. Not only that, but spices and herbs can help make them more tasty and appealing to your toddler.
Picky Toddler Tip #5- Create Family Time. Eating meals as a family is really helpful when you have picky toddlers. Turn off the tv and put away cell phones or tablets. Use your meal time to model healthy eating. Always try to include at least one food your child likes with each meal, and always provide a balanced meal- whether your toddler eats it or not.
Picky Toddler Tip #6- Make Foods Fun. It takes extra time, but if you’ve got it, making foods fun goes a long way with toddlers. Arrange foods in fun, colorful shapes using cookie cutters, sandwich cutters, or even on a plate that has a face. Kids also love any kind of dip (I know Lawson does), and could make the difference between a toddler eating or not.
Being the parent of a toddler isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a new challenge every day, but that’s part of the joys of parenthood, right? Know that whatever you choose to help your picky toddler, you’re doing an amazing job. We hope these tips help you, and that your toddler enjoys Else as much as Lawson does! (Don’t forget to use VINTAGE-ELSE25 for 25% off!)