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How to make your toddler baby eat her meal

How to make your toddler baby eat her meal

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As toddler’s grow up they may begin to develop their own choices and some of them may turn into finicky, fussy or picky eaters.

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Toddler babies are generally fussy eaters.

Many  toddlers are picky eaters. Eating meal is a time taking event for them and toddlers are always ready with some excuse to lengthen their eating time or avoid food as they dislike sitting for long. They are in fact, more comfortable with snacking and munching convenient finger foods, since it requires less time and can be done while they are on the move or playing.

Portion it  Right.

It is very essential to include the foods from all food groups to maintain good health and fulfill the nutrient needs of your baby. Also make sure that portions of food you serve your child are appropriate for the age.

Refusing food is one of her ways to assert her independence.

Refusing food becomes one of the first ways in which a toddler can assert her independence. So, it is also a phase of psychological development in your toddler. If you think that your toddler is always refusing to eat and she may starve herself, then, you can be rest assured that she is never going to do that. She is going to eat when she is hungry.

If you have real concerns or your toddler is losing weight, then it is important to speak to her pediatrician. Usually, this is a part of her developmental phase and it passes with time.

What should you do to help your baby eat her meal?

Trust your child’s instinct and give your child her independence. You can relax and prepare a variety of nutritious meals for your baby. Do not make the meal time a battle ground.

Apart from these, there are certain pointers that you should keep in mind.

Make meal time a happy time: First and foremost, do not make the meal time a dreaded time. Keep the meal time as pleasurable as the rest of the day. Keep your cool and let your child decide how much she wants to have. Let your child enjoy her meal in a play way and not as a rule.

Understand your responsibility and that of your baby: As a parent, your responsibility is to understand what, when and where your baby needs to eat. But your baby decides whether she wants to eat and how much she wants to eat. Provide your child with nutritious foods and encourage her to eat, but do not force her. Let her decide. Having clear arenas of tasks help you to keep your cool during the meal time.

Trust your child’s instincts: Always remember that your baby never starves herself. So trust her and let her play, without much interference. This is all a part of how the child learns her hunger cues, true likes and dislikes and relationship to food.

Set the parameters for a healthy routine: Arrange regular meal times and make sure that you offer a diverse and healthy range of foods to your child to choose from. Enjoy the meal time together at the table. Let your baby sit with you, while you eat and even if she doesn’t eat or eats just a bit, do not lose your calm. By enjoying food, company and time out from the daily rush, you are already giving your child a massive head start to healthy eating.

Respect the tiny tummy of your toddler: Though, it may seem that your toddler is always on the go and needs a lot of food, but this always may not be true. But one thing that parents need to understand is that the little tummies are very small and which have a small capacity. So check with the portion size you are offering to your baby, you should  provide small 6-7 frequent meals. Serve small portions of food and give your baby the independence to ask for more, if she needs. This way, you can foster healthy eating habits and there is less fuss at the table.

Do not bribe or reward your baby with sweets or unhealthy foods for consuming her meal: If you bribe your toddler, she will develop a mindset that the food is not worth consuming without the reward and she may not eat her food when you do not reward her. On the contrary, you can include dessert as a part of her meal, so that its attraction is subsided and it equates the rest of the meal. Now, since there is no prize for having the meal, the baby eats her food without any expectation of getting a reward and it will become a regular routine for her.

Make ample finger foods and snacks available: Since baby tummies are small and they cannot consume large portions of meals they are likely to feel hungry frequently. So, prepare healthy snacks and finger foods and keep them at a place reachable to your baby so that she can pick and eat whenever she feels hungry.

Different colours and shapes attract the babies: Utilize your baby’s interest and feed them. Make use of a variety of coloured fruits and vegetables to dress your baby’s food. Different consistencies and different shapes also attract the toddlers. You can make use of cookie cutters to give interesting shapes to sandwiches, parathas and cutlets etc. Sticks of carrots, shreds of cabbage or lettuce, slices of apples, tomatoes, olives and onions are options that you can experiment with.  Utilize to make the food interesting and colourful.

Give interesting names to food: You can dress a sandwich with olive eyes and apple slice mouth and sprout hair and give a funny name to the sandwich. Any interesting fusion of food and names attract your baby’s fancy. This also increases the imaginative power of your baby

Encourage her to take a bite of a new food: encourage your toddler to try new things and new foods. Ask her to atleast try it a little. She is most likely to do so, after seeing your expressions and imagining that the food is really tasty.

Presentation of food is also as important: Invest in some different coloured and different shapes of  baby utensils. The colour contrasts and shapes of the food served attract the baby and may increase her chances of eating the food.

Involve her in shopping for grocery: Involve your toddler in shopping by asking her to pick tomatoes or apples for you. You can talk to the child about things you need to prepare the meal and ask her to help you out in finding them. Also allow the baby to pick a fruit or two, if she wants to. This way she gains access to foods and will also develop healthy eating habits.

Encourage physical activity: Physical activity not only helps in growth and development of the baby but is also important in keeping her healthy and also helps to increase her appetite. When your baby is hungry give her enough food to eat. She eats it without making much fuss.

Learn to read her hunger cues: This helps you to feed the baby at the time when she is hungry and prevent the baby from getting too hungry to eat and make her cry.

How to make your toddler’s food nutritious?

Make the snacks more nutritious and energy rich: You can make use of nut paste, paneer, tofu, fruit puree, vegetable puree, eggs , yoghurt etc to make the snacks for your baby. You can include yoghurt dips and puree dips too as a healthy accompaniment.

Slip in nutritious foods to your baby’s favourites: For an example, you can include nut paste as a topping over the pizza you prepare for the baby or boiled and mashed vegetables in small cutlets or soy granules as a part of pasta dressing. You can also experiment your own ways to make the baby’s food as nutritious and as appealing that attracts her to eat and also provides enough nutrit

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