Don’t let meals become a battleground. If you are tense, your toddler will pick on this. A way of reassuring yourself that a toddler is consuming enough is to keep a weekly — not a daily — chart of what they have eaten. It may well pleasantly surprise you. Above all, never use junk food as a bribe for eating the healthy items. This sends out all the wrong messages to your child.
Make mealtimes a fun, family time. Eating is not only about refuelling, it’s a social activity. If your toddler associates meals with talking and laughter he may start to enjoy what you put in front of him. Look out for the Fred & Friends Mr Food Face plate and the Constructive Eating utensil set which make a game out of eating.
Let them make healthy choices. In the food store ask the toddler, “Apples and mangoes or bananas and kiwi fruit? You choose.” Allow them to handle the items, and praise their decision.
Make regular times for meals and snacks if you can. Toddlers respond positively to rhythm and order, and it will teach his stomach to expect food at specific times. Irregular meal times and snacking on the go tend to encourage bad choices.
Get active together. Exercise makes you hungry! After a run around with your toddler have them put their own healthy sandwich together, or let them drop fruit in the blender to make a smoothie.
Keep perspective. The toddler stage is short, and your persistence and patience will pay off. In the meantime, celebrate each triumph.