My son is one of the pickiest eater I have ever encountered. The only "meals" I have been able to get him to eat are macaroni & cheese, scrambled eggs, and hotdogs and oven fries. Other than that, all he wants to eat are pretzels, fruit snacks, and cookies.
I have tried giving him chicken, ground beef (in the form of sloppy joes and meatballs), potatoes, vegetables, and fruits, but he shudders and spits everything out. I have tried not giving him anything to eat other than the meal I initially offer (like chicken and mashed potatoes) but one day he went from noon to seven at night without eating because he wouldn't touch the chicken and mashed potatoes and I finally caved and made him some macaroni and cheese because I didn't want him going to bed hungry!
I want to make sure he's getting all the nutrients he needs without having to rely on supplementing his diet with pediasure. Does anyone have any advice on making healthy meals more appealing to a toddler or is this just a stage he'll eventually grow out of once he starts to get a little older (like three and four)?
He's not underweight or malnourished by any means, but I don't know how to find a happy medium with feeding him something he'll eat that is also good for him (I know eggs aren't necessarily bad for him, but he can't eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day).
He so sounds like my son when he was that age. My son got into only eating for other people like my friends or other family members so you could try that. Also, when it came to broccoli I used to call them trees and he would eat them. Sometimes you have to 'hide' food in other food like mashed potatoes or mac & Cheese. Don't give him any cookies until he eats what is put in front of him. A lot of it is the texture of the food that he doesn't like because it feels funny in their mouth and on their tongue. Caving is so easy as a mom, good luck.
Here are a few "sneaky tricks" I've learned over the years with my 6 children:
1. Act like you DON'T want to share what you have with him. "These are MY carrots and you can't have any." ~ enjoy each bite, loudly making "yummy" noises. Curiosity will peek over the forbidden food that mom seems to be really enjoying & the child may as for a bite. Act hesitant. "I don't know, they are so good. I don't want to share." Think it over and say he can have just one. Of course if he likes them you can then offer him if he would like his own dish of carrots (or any other food you are trying to introduce)
2. Try it a different way. Some kids liked cooked veggies not raw, others like raw but not cooked... still other kids like some cooked and some raw... so experiment with how the different foods are prepared.
3. Give your child the power of choice. "I'm making meatloaf for dinner tonight, what vegetable do you think we should have with it? We have peas, corn, or green beans." A child who gets to decide what gets set out on the table is more likely (but not always) to try and eat those foods.
4. Have your child help prepare the food, even if it just stirring something. When sitting at the table have everyone talk about how great it tastes and thank the child for making such a delicious meal. Pride of a job well done goes a long way in the desire to eat the food he helped make.
5. Establish a "new foods night" where the entire family tries something new. When your child watches YOU trying new foods, it will encourage them to do the same. This could be a strange new fruit or vegetable, a new recipe, an ethnic recipe... the sky is the limit.
I have more tips, but I have to run for now ~ it's lunch time
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