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Ways to Tempt Your Picky Toddler

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Ways to Tempt Your Picky Toddler

I'm sharing an article off the website What to Expect.  Has some nice tips :)

Food, glorious food. You love it and you want your toddler to love it too, right? You probably can’t wait to introduce your child’s taste buds to the smorgasbord of delicacies that are available for her dining pleasure. And she may very well be game to sample a little of this and a little of that. But even if your child’s palate has rivaled Emeril Lagasse’s for adventurous eating, there will probably come a time when she gets very, hmmm… discriminating, meaning that she discriminates against any food not in her list of favorites (i.e., a catalog of “approved foods” that you can count on one hand…with fingers left over).This attitude may develop because deep into toddlerhood, children crave — make that demand — more independence. And mealtime is one place where they can exert some control. Of course you want to applaud this growing sense of self-reliance as a sign that your baby is growing up (though, thankfully, still a few years away from taking off with the car keys), but it can make mealtime a tad monotonous. Rest assured, food ruts aren’t harmful to your toddler’s long-term health provided she is getting enough calories and isn’t subsisting on cheese puffs. But they are a bit limiting. And while it’s certainly easy to throw together yet another bowl of pasta, it’s a good idea for your tot’s diet to be more nutritionally diverse if you can swing it. To help your picky eater broaden her culinary horizons, check out these ways to entice her to eat something else for a change.
  • Load your picky eater’s plate with a few different foods. (At least one food on her plate should be something you know she likes to eat.) Then encourage her to explore a new food — pick it up, touch it, and smell it — so that it becomes more familiar to her. And by all means encourage your toddler to take “just a taste.” But if she refuses, don’t make a big deal out of it. You won’t win this battle, and holding your ground will surely backfire and turn your child off to the food instead.
  • Try, try, try again. A big mistake parents make is believing their child doesn’t like something because she refused it the first time around. But that first try, the food is new, and your toddler may just be wary. So don’t give up after just one shot. Continue to serve up that new food, and eventually, once it becomes a familiar sight, your tot may venture a taste. Be patient, though. It can take up to 15 attempts before your picky eater gets used to a new taste.
  • Give the food another name. If your toddler loves grapes (cut up) but turns up her nose at blackberries, try calling the berries “bumpy grapes” and watch them disappear. Dub cauliflower “white broccoli”; and turn sweet potatoes into “orange potatoes.” You might even be able to coax your tot to eat vegetable quiche by calling it “pie.” Later on, after she likes the food (or when she graduates from high school, whichever comes first), you can clue her in to the real names.
  • Serve similar foods together. If your child eats cantaloupe, try mixing in some honeydew — she may dig right in. If she likes tortellini, she may take to ravioli in that bowl as well. If she likes celery sticks, throw some raw pepper sticks on the plate for her to try, too.
  • Present the food in a new way. Maybe steamed carrots aren’t her thing, but raw, crunchy carrots ring her bell. No go on yogurt in a cup? Try a yogurt drink or squeezable yogurt in a tube. A toddler who doesn’t like the texture of tofu may enjoy popping soybeans into her mouth.
  • Get her friends involved. Find out what your picky eater’s pals like to eat, arrange a lunch date, and let them encourage one another. Food always looks better on someone else’s plate — especially when it comes with a stamp of approval from a best friend.
  • Involve your child in food prep. Your picky eater may be a lot more interested in trying something new if she’s had a hand in putting it together. Take your child shopping at the grocery store or farmer’s market, and let her help pick out foods she’d like to eat (just stay away from the chips and cookie aisles). Then, back at home, let her help make the meal. Even a three-year-old can stir fruit into yogurt or spread mustard on bread. Or try planting an herb or vegetable garden in a corner of your yard or on your windowsill. Let your toddler help water the plants and watch them sprout. Encourage her to taste what she’s grown.
  • Provide some entertainment. A sandwich cut into four squares can be boring, no matter what’s between the bread. But cutting it into crazy shapes with cookie cutters or decorating the top with a vegetable “face” (cucumber eyes, a cherry tomato nose, red-pepper mouth, and shredded yellow squash for hair) can make a plain sandwich seem like a cartoon character. It may be just what you need to lure your toddler into taking a bite.
  • Talk it up big time. Kids love to imitate what we do, so put some food on your plate and really sell it hard: “Yummy! Mommy loves fill in whatever you want your child to eat! This is so delicious. Yum-yum. Do you want to try it?” One day your kid may surprise you and actually say yes.

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