If you have become a parent recently, it must be a great challenge to feed your toddler timely. Trust us; you are not alone in this. Most youngsters are picky about food, so it becomes really a hard task to feed them all the nutrition that their body needs.
It is very likely to face some challenges while feeding your little ones as they are new in this world. The key is to get creative with their food keeping in mind the nutritional value of their food.
Several trials and errors might occur before your child is comfortable with the concept. So be patient with them and keep changing their diets according to their needs. Here are some of the problems that you might encounter while feeding toddlers.
1. Refuse to Have Healthy Foods
Kids generally don’t like having healthy food that much. It is the most common problem that parents face while feeding their children. Toddlers can be very picky about eating food that’s good for them.
If your toddler won’t eat their vegetables, you can offer them varieties of healthy foods mixed with something they like to have to provide them nutrition. For example, you can mix vegetables with little sausages in them.
Present them in a fun and interesting way by mixing all colors of fruits in a bowl and cutting it into different shapes. This way, they can get nutrition and their favorite food all at once.
You should remember that it can take a while for your child to be comfortable with new food. So keep offering them healthy foods very patiently. Also, toddlers tend to do whatever their parents do.
So, set an example for them and keep eating healthy. Avoid giving them fast foods as this can decrease their appetite and interest in healthy food.
2. Does Not Like Solid Food
After 6 months, it is mandatory for your child to take some solid food besides breastfeeding. You can give them instant cereal or some solid food after blending it.
But for toddlers, chewing is an unusual habit for which they refuse to take any solid food in the first place. Be patient with them and give them time to adapt to this new food habit.
Gradually increase the amount of solid food you give and keep decreasing the formula so that they eventually grow the habit of having solid food.
If they are totally refusing to take solid food, then you should take some steps to solve this problem. You can start by giving them soft foods like avocado, banana, and mashed potato. This will help your toddler to chew easily and also provide them with the necessary nutrients.
Don’t offer them the same kind of food daily. Offer them varieties of food to make the food more interesting.
3. Picky About Food
It is a very common problem that toddlers are very picky about food, and it’s hard to give them the same food that everyone else is having. It is also very difficult to make something new and different every time.
So, give them some hassle-free and nutritious foods like egg sandwiches, peanut butter, vegetable soup, yogurt, etc. Try giving them the same meal you have in a small amount daily and let them explore those foods at their own pace.
You can also involve your kid in meal preparation by offering them simple tasks like mixing, measuring, or stirring. This can help them to grow interested in having new foods.
Don’t pressurize them to have anything; it will do the opposite. Try to be patient with them all the time.
4. Doesn’t Like Protein
Your toddler must get all six nutritive elements in the right amount. The role of protein in your child’s growth is immensely important.
Your child may not like to have meat, fish, milk, or egg on a regular basis. They might even hate to have plant-based protein. Whatever they dislike having, provide them with an alternative.
Try providing them with alternatives like different kinds of beans, peanut butter, soy chunks, sausages, etc. You can also add protein to different recipes, like adding chicken with pasta, fish with vegetables, etc.
Try to include one fish item in their meal on alternative days, if not daily. Your kid may prefer certain ways of protein preparation methods. So try different methods like baking, sauteing, and grilling, and try to observe which one your kid likes more.
5. Refuses to Have Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a must for your little ones as they bring a lot of nutrition to their body. But if they do not like to have these, then you must think of some alternatives to feed them regularly.
You can make them fruit juice if they do not like the raw ones. Most toddlers like to have fruit juice regularly. You can try it with varieties of fruits like bananas, watermelon, mango, guava, etc.
By doing this, your toddler will receive all the nutrients and enjoy their food. You can mix the vegetables with chicken or fruits with mixed nuts and serve them to them.
Also, there are many ways of cooking vegetables. Experiment with different ways, like boiling vegetables or cooking them with oil, and see which one your toddler likes more. Add some chicken or cheese to your vegetables to make the dish more interesting for your child.
Rumination is when your child takes a long time to eat and keeps the food in their mouth. This is a rare condition in kids and might be a sign of gastrointestinal problems.
To solve this, ensure that the food portion is not excessive and give them smaller portions so that your little ones complete the meal. Encourage your toddler to eat slowly and take breaks during eating.
Only give them heavy food when they are hungry and not when it’s snack time. Remove any distractions while having food, like watching tv, playing games, and so on.
This way, they will have full concentration on having the food. Also, overeating can increase rumination to a great extent. So avoid overwhelming them with food.
You can keep a diary to keep track of what your child is having regularly, and if they experience any symptoms, write that down. It will help you to identify any kind of trigger that increases the rumination in your child.
7. Only Likes Junk Food
Children like food that are sweet in taste, like chocolate, candy, etc. They also like to have unhealthy foods like burgers, pizza, and ice cream. But this should not be a part of their regular meal as it can affect your kid’s health and be harmful to their teeth.
You can not change their food habits in one go, so try phasing out these junk foods. For dessert, try giving them fruits instead of chocolates.
Include something healthy in snacks like butter-free popcorn, vegetables with chicken, fruit juice, etc. You can give them junk food only once a week but not more than that.
Try to make the homemade food more interesting, Or you can make them foods that they like and mix that with some healthy foods like you can make them egg sandwiches or mix vegetables with noodles.
8. Lack of Appetite
Normally, your little one will feel full after having a small meal as they have a very small appetite. So try to include all the nutritional foods in a small amount so your child does not lack anything.
But if you see they have nothing, try giving them some vitamins after consulting with the pediatrician. Try to understand why they are losing appetite and try to solve that.
Try giving them different kinds of foods rather than giving them the same foods again and again. Make them do some exercise like running, jogging, or even playing on the field. This will increase their appetite to a larger scale.
Don’t panic about the food habits of your toddler. It is very normal to face these challenges, and with time, you can overcome them as well.
Remember, they are fine as long as your kid is growing and developing. Do not try to overwhelm them with food, as this will result in bad consequences rather than good ones. We wish you all the very best and welcome to the journey of parenthood.