Toddler Eating Habits
As your child grows you will find changes in different habits, from sleeping to favourite toys. The most discouraging for parents is the change in eating habits between baby and toddler stages in your child’s life. All of a sudden your child goes from eating anything you put in front of them, to being a pickier eater.
There are many explanations for why toddlers seem to have new aversions to types of food. One of them is called food neophobia, which is a rejection of any unfamiliar foods, even without tasting them. Strangely enough it has been shown that vegetables are the most rejected food. Most children grow out of this phobia as they get older, but there are ways to try to curb it.
Try to continually put the new food on their plate. It may take up to ten exposures to the new food for toddlers to accept it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will want to eat it.
Don’t serve your child their favourites only. Try to experiment so that they don’t continue their bad habits to when they get older. If you give them something they don’t really prefer, they will eat something in order to ensure they have enough nutrition.
As toddlers are learning to walk, talk, and discover new things, sometimes they have too many new experiences during the day to handle additional new experiences at dinnertime. If you want to try to introduce them to new foods, try to do it at an earlier meal when they are more open to new experiences.
There are some simpler explanations for a toddler’s change in appetite. They can be teething, bored of the same food, not hungry from eating snacks during the day, or trying to exert a sense of independence in what they are eating.
To help them feel included in the preparation of meals, ask them to help. Get them involved in grocery shopping or measuring ingredients. If they feel included in the preparation, they might be more willing to eat whatever they’re making.
Just remember to try to keep calm. The more negatively you react to your picky eater, the more they will want to continue to be picky.