If Your Toddler is a Picky Eater

I wish I could say my 2-year-old is a picky eater. It would have been better that way than a child with food allergies. All the more preferred if he had none of those two things mentioned.

I've written this in the blog many times before, my son suffers from eczema. Read here. The food on his plate is already restricted, to begin with.

Although this is the case, we don't tell him what foods to eat and what he can't. We did this once a while back and I could tell the regret on his face. It's better not to impose limitations. I don't want him to believe that something is wrong with him. Also, I want to give room for God to do a miracle.

Yes, we give him eggs, chickens, and other foods blacklisted from the menu of an eczema sufferer, only if he wants them. Note we don't force him. We give him smaller portions first and observe his body's reaction.

I must say, our son has gotten better compared to where he used to be. His options have expanded.

Disclaimer: I'm no doctor or a nutritionist. I'm just your regular stay-at-home mom raising a 2-year-old. I don't recommend you follow the suggestions here-in without consulting an expert. Use your own judgment.

This is not to say, he doesn't say no to some foods. He does, especially when it's the first time he saw it offered on his plate.

Toddler Picky Eater
[photo source]

Here's what we do to encourage him.

Prepare one meal for the family. 

Do you ever wonder why people say, "I miss my mother's cooking"? This is because one's preference for taste is influenced. It begins early on in life.

Children naturally copy what adults do, this includes the foods we eat. They are more willing to try new tastes when they see their parents and other family members chew the same foods.

That's why it's important to serve the same meal for the whole family. It's unfair to force your toddler to eat something you don't. That means you also have to make healthy choices. It's a win-win situation if you think about it.

I love spicy food. This wasn't the case growing up. I put myself up for the challenge and set my tongue on fire to broaden my archive of tastes. It proved to be a blessing. I've lived in four different countries now and traveled to places. My forced training came in handy. From then on, I kept trying out new flavors with the exception of exotic foods.

Thankfully, our toddler picked up the habit. He imitates mom and dad like a superfan.

Eat together.

I understand this was difficult to do for some families. But what's your excuse on a lockdown?

Up until recently, I don't eat till five in the afternoon. I do this to curb my expanding waistline. Haha. So I make sure we eat one meal together in a day.

We all love to do something fun and enjoyable. Make mealtime experience your toddler will look forward too. You could involve him/her during meal preparations. They are more likely to eat the foods they help prepare.

Or talk to him/her on the dining table. Many times, my husband and I do the talking and include the little boy to the conservation.

Add your own dose of creativity.

You know what your toddler likes best, appeal to that. You can create stories or make your toddler's plate visually appealing. We did the airplane landing on his mouth story a few instances to encourage him to eat.

Also, we try to eat out on weekends. (Before the lockdown of course.) Our little love likes to go out or rather he likes to go on dinner dates with daddy and/or mommy. We use this time to introduce him to new flavors.

If all else fails...

If little one says no, don't pressure him/her. They will develop an aversion to that food item if you force them to eat it.

Try again later. Perhaps they're full. You will know when they are hungry. Sometimes our little boy climbs up the dining table to scour for food. Or mounts on the step stool to check for snacks at the pantry. Other times, he'll simply say his hungry.

Children are smart. They know where to look when they bellies demand to be filled. What are your toddler's antics?

Is your toddler a picky eater? What do you do to encourage him or her to eat?