If your three-year-old child is a fussy eater, you know how frustrating it is when your child says “No!” to a tasty and lovingly prepared meal.
While you know that your toddler will not starve you can’t help but worry about their health and nutrition. Picky eaters want the same food every day and resist trying anything new. Your dinner table transforms easily from a dinner table to a battleground.
Take a look at some quick tips that can make mealtimes more relaxed and smart strategies to feed them healthy.
Cut back on snacks before meal.
Some parents offer frequent snacks, to get their children to eat something. While your kids might refuse to finish it, they will still eat enough to keep them on their toes for a few hours. So avoid snacking 1-2 hours prior to meal time to build an appetite.
Limit drinks and milk.
If your kid is thirsty, give him water. Remember that two or three servings of milk are enough for a three-year-old.
Offer healthy snacks like fruits.
Offering salty chips or cupcakes as snacks will just load them with calories. Make snack time healthy with fruits and veggie-bites.
Lead by example.
Eat a variety of foods, encourage healthy eating habits and enjoy home cooked food together as much as you can.
Do not force to finish everything served.
Respect your child’s appetite. Do not force them to clean their plate or bribe them into eating extra.
Do not offer desserts as a reward.
Offering sweets as rewards is a way telling them that sweets are more desirable in comparison to healthy foods.
Introduce unfamiliar foods slowly.
Most children at the age of 3, have clear likes and dislikes. Accept it. They might eat the same type of food everyday, but soon they will move past it. Keep trying, but do not force feed.
Do not resent your child for wasting food you painstakingly prepared. Preparing a whole wheat mini pizza might offer the same nutrients as a cheese, tomato sandwich for half the time and effort.
Eat as a family.
Enjoy mealtime together with your toddler and eat the same food as them. This will encourage them to eat new, unfamiliar things too. Put off distractions like TV and toys. Chat and enjoy some relaxed quality time.
Chalk out a healthy diet routine, with proper time for meals and snacks and follow it religiously. Re-enforcing rules will bring discipline and routine. If they are too tired or cranky, the probability of eating a complete meal is very less. So set realistic expectations.
Praise your child when they try something new or finish up. Do not give them too much attention when they reject their food as it will only encourage them.
If your child is growing well, you can stop worrying because these little ones have their own brains and ways. But if you are concerned about their development, talk to your pediatrician about their growth and nutrition.