How to Get Your Toddler to Eat Healthy Foods

If you can get your toddler to look forward to meals and sit still and eat then that is half the battle towards establishing healthy eating patterns in the child for the future. Most toddlers are very messy and distractible so this is always a big challenge. Be sure to invest in a good bib, a high chair that is easy to clean and a floor mat. It is also advisable not to wear your best clothes while feeding toddlers. They have been known to throw things!

Toddlers should also not be forced to eat. This makes them think that eating is all about control. Instead be gentle, friendly and offer the toddler food. Let him or her make the decision about what is going to go in the mouth.

It is okay to encourage your baby to play with his or her food. You can cut the food up so that it is attractive and looks like sticks, trees or other fun shapes. You can even get little plastic cookie cutters for making shapes out of soft foods. Making little landscapes or faces out of foods by arranging them in certain ways on the plate is also appealing to them.

You should also not use food as a bargaining chip to get dessert or play time. Food should never be used as a punishment or a road. This can lead to eating too much or disorders like bulimia and anorexia later in life.

Never shame your child at mealtimes. You never want your baby to associate meal time with stress. This could make the baby avoid eating. He or she could end up being overweight or have emotional issues around food.

Be sure to keep your mealtimes twenty minutes or shorter. Do not try to keep a toddler who will not stay in a chair there. They simply will have an ego struggle with you. They do not have the attention span to learn real discipline at this age.

You should also resign yourself to the fact that a toddler's appetite will simply not be the same very day. They also do things like binge on one food, like bananas, for days on end and then refuse to eat anything. Do not worry. Your toddler is probably not going to be malnourished unless it goes on for weeks on end. It is normal for them to be temperamental eaters.