Is your toddler a fussy eater?


If mealtimes in your house are more battle ground than common ground, you probably have a faddy toddler on your hands

Beakers are flying, Brussel sprouts are zinging through the air like bullets and the kitchen wall is soaked in enough apple juice to feed an army.

That’s right, your newly independent tot is going through a fussy eating phase and she is refusing anything that looks like it might ever have been a vegetable or fruit!

‘I don’t like it’ 

A phrase that can drive most levelheaded mums to the edge within minutes, particularly when it is accompanied by pursed lips, clenched fists and a plastic bowl used like a missile.

Your toddler is beginning to exert some of her newly found independence and fussy or faddy eating is a typical toddler trait.

It is very common for children to go through phases of eating only one type of food and refusing everything else.

She may go for a whole week eating nothing but yoghurt and then go off it and refuse to eat anything but mashed potatoes.

The best solution is to make mealtimes a relaxed and fun part of the day for your toddler.

Try not to get mad with her or insist that she eats certain foods.

If she thinks that this is really important to you, she will probably do it again and again.

Set a good example

And you are definitely going to have to lead by example.

There’s no point in offering her a plate of mushroom and broccoli pasta if she sees you pigging out on cakes and biscuits.

Try and sit down with her at mealtimes as much as you can and offer her smaller portions of the same healthy meals you are eating yourself.

Try not to spend lots of time cooking food that you know your toddler wont eat, as you will probably feel annoyed when she refuses it.

What about a balanced diet?

No one, particular food is essential to your toddler and you will always be able to find a nutritious substitute for any food she refuses.

The key here is to get a good overview of what she is eating over a week rather than worrying about her on a daily basis.

As long as she is getting three daily meals with healthy and nutritious snacks in between, you shouldn’t have to worry about her missing out.

A little imagination

You should however, keep an eye out on whether she is refusing one whole food group over a substantial period of time.

The most common battle here is generally with fruit and vegetables, a very important component of your growing tot’s diet.

You will have to think of ways to tempt her to in to eating both, either by cooking the food in a different way – try offering raw veg with hummus dips and salsa or mashing veg in to stews and gravies – or by presenting her meals to her in imaginative ways.

Your toddler will also need lots of calcium for those growing bones so keep offering her milk.

If she isn’t keen, try other dairy products like cheese and yoghurt or cheesy, milk-based sauces. Don’t forget about Vitamin C and iron either.

Both of these are very important for tots on the grow.

If you are having trouble encouraging her to eat her fruit and veg, try offering her snacks and foods enriched with essential vitamins and iron, for example cereals, rusks and fruit juices.

You got this!

Let’s face it, you are a busy mum and sometimes it can be very tempting to give in to a demanding toddler by giving her biscuits and crisps instead of yoghurt and carrot sticks.

If your child looks happy, well and is growing properly, there is no need to worry about her but if you think she isn’t getting a balanced diet, you should consult your GP or nutritionist for advice.


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