Baby & tot picky eater meal plan
It seems we constantly hear about kids being picky eaters; it may feel like we are condemned to have a child who will eat nothing but chicken fingers and pizza. Is there anything you can do to raise an adventurous eater? Plenty actually, starting right now!
Family meals are one of the best ways to encourage an adventurous eater. Family meals promote better nutrition, eating habits and even behavior.
Babies and toddlers learn to eat from you! Babies and tots are more likely to try foods they see their parents eat. Make sure you are modeling good eating behavior. In one survey of parents of preschool age children, the parents’ fruit and vegetable consumption was the strongest predictor of how much of these foods the kids ate.
Little ones tend to like new foods paired with an existing favorite. Try to use your child’s favorite foods to add new ones.
Meal and snack schedules are very important so babies and toddlers arrive to the table hungry and wanting to eat. Don’t let snacks get within 1-1.5 hours of a meal.
It’s also important to practice what’s known as the “division of responsibility”. As the caregiver, you provide the time, place, and choices for eating. Your child decides whether to eat and how much to eat.
If your child doesn’t seem to like a new food, don’t pay too much attention. He may need many exposures to foods before he readily accepts them. Be patient and try cooking foods differently (sautéed, roasted, steamed) or with different flavors to help baby learn to like them. It might take up to 10-20 times before they like it! Avoid pressuring your child to eat a food. This can backfire. Instead, use the “parent provides, child decides” philosophy – parents choose which foods are offered, but your baby should be allowed to choose whether to eat, which foods to choose and how much to eat.
The below meals and snacks provide a variety of flavors and textures to help raise an adventurous eater!
- Option 1: Whole grain toast topped with nut butter and sliced bananas
- Option 2: Yogurt Recipe: Berry Muesli
- Option 3: Omelet with finely diced bell pepper and mushrooms
- Option 4: Whole grain waffle with ricotta cheese and berries
- Option 5: Yogurt and quinoa parfait with cinnamon pears
- Option 1: Yogurt Recipe: Cheesy Peasy Pasta
- Option 2: Turkey roll up-whole wheat tortilla with hummus spread, turkey and sliced cucumber
- Option 3: Quesadilla made with whole-wheat tortillas, cheddar cheese and cubed avocado
- Option 4: Whole grain toast with light tuna and carrots
- Option 5: Tex-Mex pizza: whole grain pita topped with tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, and black or pinto beans
- Option 1: Whole grain spaghetti with tomato sauce and ground beef, chicken or turkey mixed with soft cooked mushrooms
- Option 2: Baked fish with green beans and a sweet potato
- Option 3: Cheeseburger (ground beef, chicken or turkey), cut up in pieces on a whole grain roll and soft roasted zucchini
- Option 4: Stir fry with chicken, squash, peas and brown rice
- Option 5: Breaded baked chicken strips with steamed carrots and a whole grain dinner roll
- Option 1: Yogurt Recipe: Sweet Yogurt Dip
- Option 2: Cottage cheese and fruit
- Option 3: Veggies with hummus dip
- Option 4: Yogurt Recipe: Fruit & Yogurt Pops
- Option 5: Yogurt Recipe: Blueberry Banana Blender Muffins
Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions for your child. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs, including allergies and intolerances. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for your child. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for your child.