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Food and Your Picky Toddler: A Q & A

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1. Toddlers can be notoriously picky when it comes to food. Do you have any strategies for introducing new foods?

Toddlerhood is a time when you may see your child’s appetite slow down and his pattern of eating change: snacking and grazing become important as milk intake declines and more and more calories and nutrients come from foods. Snacking also suits a toddlers busy life, as they are increasingly on-the-move. The number one thing to keep in mind when trying to expand your toddler’s repertoire for food: introduce a new food many, many times before giving up on it (if at all). What she will eat in terms of flavours and textures will change almost daily. You never know what one day will bring, compared to the last.

2. Should you worry if your child doesn’t consume very much food?

It is important to take a look at what your child is eating in the big picture – what do they consume each day or week, rather than at one sitting. Embrace snacking behaviours – toddlers need a constant supply of nutrients to keep up with their active little lifestyles and their little stomachs can’t hold enough at one time. Always offer healthy snacks in-between meals, like plain yogurt with fruit puree or rice cakes with hummus. If you are truly concerned your child isn’t getting enough, talk to your doctor and get in touch with us for guidance.

3. What to do when/if a child refuses to eat? Do you fret? Establish the two more bite rule?

I think it is important to help your child establish a positive relationship with food. Forcing her to eat, even if just two bites, when she is not inclined or hungry can create a negative association. You choose what food your child has access to, but I think it is far healthier to let her decide what and when she eats.

This content has been adapted from the book,Sprout Right: Nutrition from Tummy to Toddler. For more in depth information, and snack ideas, I encourage you to check it out.

- Lianne

Lianne Phillipson-Webb is the founder of Sprout Right, a company that specializes in pre-conception, prenatal, and postnatal nutrition for women, as well as good food and health for the whole family. With over ten years of experience, Lianne is a registered nutritionist, author, member of the International Organization of Nutrition Consultants, and mother of two.


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