MS, RDN, CDN
Allison is a registered dietitian who holds a Master’s in Nutrition and Physical Fitness. She also loves helping families get creative with their wellness choices.
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!
For more information on picky eating, please visit our Picky Eating Hub.
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.
Starting Solids | Little Ones
Recipes & Meal Plans | Little Ones
Recipes & Meal Plans | Mama
Recipes & Meal Plans | 7+ Months
Supplementing | Nutrition
Our Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook for Baby & Toddler is chock-full of yummy, easy-to-prepare meals your whole family will love.