Your toddler a difficult eater? Read these 10 tips!
“Mama, I don’t like that. A phase that almost every parent will have to deal with at some point. Usually when your child is around 2 years old. It is a phase and passes again. But if you’re in the middle of it, it’s nice when your child just wants to eat again.
10 tips practical tips
Play with variations and combine food
Something your child doesn’t like is easier to put in if you combine it with something he does like. Sometimes it also works to prepare something in a different way. Doesn’t the broccoli want to go in like this? Maybe it’s because of the pasta sauce or with a fresh yoghurt dip. Boiled carrot is the dirtiest thing there is? Try grated with a few raisins or through the stew. Search our recipes for inspiration by using the dreaded ingredient. It’s better not to ‘mask’ food with applesauce, for example. This way he no longer tastes the pure taste of the food.
Dress up the food nicely
The “dress up” sign does a lot. A nice spoon, a song, a nice plate, food in a nice shape or make a face of his dinner: be creative.
Let your child help in the kitchen
Children almost always like to help with cooking. They learn a lot and once you’ve made it together, they also get to taste it more easily. Is your child ready to help yet? Think of simple chores, such as washing vegetables, peeling eggs or mixing salads. And would your child like to eat some sweet peppers, carrots or tomatoes while cooking? Then he must have that inside! Before you start cooking together, let him choose which vegetables he wants to eat.
Create a relaxed atmosphere
Does your child not want to eat something and is he making this clear? Make sure that the sign is placed in such a way that your child can just reach it. And don’t pay any more attention to it. Eat yourself and keep the atmosphere relaxed. You’ll see that if you don’t pay attention to your child’s behaviour, he’ll suddenly pick up his own plate. And if not? Then offer a bite to eat once in a while. And praise your child if he takes that bite. That way, eating together becomes a social, sociable moment again.
Being clear about eating time
You eat at the table, even if it’s something small like a piece of fruit. When you leave the table, the time to eat is over. Has your child eaten nothing or little? Fine. Just clear the table. Don’t give anything extra in between, because then he won’t be hungry anymore at the next eating moment. A bottle of milk at night is also better not to do. You keep the bad food during the meal if your child counts on it to get something else.
Don’t overload the plate
If you give small portions, your child doesn’t have to look up to a mountain of food. And you can always brag again. Click here to see sample menus for the little ones.
Set a good example
Your kid doesn’t like anything more than imitating you. So show that you eat and drink healthy and enjoy it. A bite of vegetables, a piece of fish, a potato: eat it with taste and tell your child how it tastes. Also show that you have made an effort to prepare the food.
Tasting a small bite
Tasting is part of it, even if it’s only a little bit. One bite is enough. It’s a matter of practice, just like learning to walk or cycle.
Do you already know this one: the ice cube trick
It’s fine to dish up what your child likes more often. But continue to offer other flavours as well. A handy tip: freeze what your child does not eat in a tray for making ice cubes. So you can always give it in a small portion after the meal of the day. Then your child can taste that new flavour in an easy and playful way. It’s okay if your child doesn’t want to swallow the food, as long as he has had it in his mouth.
Clarity first and foremost
A child may not want to eat something while he likes it best. Sometimes the carrot will go in just fine and the other day he doesn’t want it. Or he suddenly doesn’t want a stew or pasta anymore and prefers to throw his whole plate through the room. That can be frustrating as a parent. Offering something else because you’re tired of your child’s behaviour or because you’re afraid your child will get too little is understandable. But by giving your child a sandwich or cracker (later), you keep the bad food alive during the meal. In the long run, you and your child will benefit more if you stand firm and do not offer anything else to your child. In this way you give your child clarity.
Not giving in to your child can mean that your child sometimes goes to bed hungry or does not eat much for a few days. This can’t hurt, because a healthy child doesn’t starve itself. He will eat on his own. And tomorrow is another day.
New taste? Your child learns to taste
Sometimes your child will have to taste up to 10 to 15 times before he gets used to a taste. This does not necessarily mean that he will find everything super tasty. Children also develop personal taste preferences. Why shouldn’t you force them to do so? Forcing your child to eat something doesn’t work. It may be that he is already full, but he can’t indicate this very well. Then you are actually giving him too much. By forcing your child to eat, it is also possible that he is no longer able to eat well.