My sons are picky eaters when they are still in their younger ages, it really took time and effort for me to convince them to eat what is served at the table, be it vegetables or the yucky fish as they call it then.
Picky eating is natural especially in the second year where toddlers are more interested in experimenting with food by mashing it between their fingers than actually eating it. This is also the time wherein we train them to get used to certain meal routines. Our toddler kids have their favorite food at this stage and that is what they want to eat most of the time. Any attempt to feed them anything else would end in tantrum. JM my eldest, when he was still a toddler always wants hotdog and hotdog only. Yahmir, my youngest on the other hand likes chicken and chicken only.
Toddlers are also turned off by sight, smell, touch, texture and sensation. My eldest son when he was a toddler spit out food with pepper while my youngest son likes it.
Well take heart – toddlers don’t need as much food as we might expect. According to my children’s pediatrician, growth slows considerably on this stage, so their bodies require fewer calories.
Through the years, I find ways to expand their eating repertoire and help them become a healthy eater. Here are a few ideas.
· Start small, I let my children eat their favorite food but on one condition. They would try a little or one spoonful of another dish. If they like it, great! But if they didn’t, no big deal. The point was to try. By this method, I was able to figure out other food preferences and worked from there. Both of them liked the buttered broccoli, so I offered them buttered cauliflower and then buttered fish, and so on.
· Feed frequently, feed smaller but frequent meals in the toddler stage.
· Keep trying, we just don’t lose hope at once. Many need repeated exposure to new food to even take a first bite. We can encourage them by calling attention to not just flavor, but color, shape and aroma. It will make their meals look interesting.
· Bring them with you at the supermarket to help you pick fruits and vegetables. Let them help in the kitchen. Ask them to help you rinse the veggies or mix the batter. He is more likely to eat what he “cooked”
· Take advantage of Peer Pressure. They will be more likely to eat and try new food when they see other kids eating it.
· Do not forget to consult your pediatrician on recommended good milk and multi-vitamins to supplement the kid’s diet.
I am proud to say that my kids at age 9, they are already eating variety of foods. But, be very careful on what you also give them to try, for they might be allergic to it. Some common food that might give allergic reactions are shrimps, crabs and other sea foods. Also, take note that clams are not easily digested on kids which might cause stomach pains.
At present, I am no longer worrying about them being choosy in the foods they eat, but I am already complaining, for my kids have developed strong appetite, and are always hungry when at home (lol)