In the Classroom: The Rainbows
Toddlers can display some pretty irregular eating habits. One day they like certain foods you serve, the next day they don’t. Toddlers may not eat a certain kind of food at home, however eat the very same food in school. Many toddlers would rather drink their meals throughout the day such as milk, which may decrease their appetite when it comes time to eat solid foods at meatltime.
- Try not to let your child fill up on drinks such as milk or sweetened drinks. Children are more likely to refuse to eat any foods if they drink throughout the day.
- Serve your child smaller servings during meals. Although the portion size may seem small to your eyes, to your toddler, it looks like a lot. Remember, you can always give seconds!
- Offer a variety of "good" foods to your child (fruits, vegetables, grains and milk products). Avoid things with too much sugar (candy, lollipops, gummy fruit snacks, fruit roll ups, etc.). These items can cause tooth decay and decrease your child’s appetite.
- Don’t force your child to eat if s/he is too tired. It can become quite an uphill battle between you and your child. Sometimes a short nap may do the trick.
- Have your child get involved in the preparation of the meals, if possible. Children love to help mommy and daddy in the kitchen. It is also a great way to have a conversation about nutrition with your child.
- Accept the fact that your child may not like everything they try, just like grown ups.
- Be a good role model. If your child sees you eat healthy food consistently, s/he is more likely to follow your steps.
If you find yourself facing a fussy eater, please feel free to talk to your child's teachers for help with ideas and strategies.