Toddlers are notoriously picky about what they will (and won’t) eat. When Judah doesn’t want to sit down for lunch or isn’t feeling his menu I might as well be trying to coax a brick wall to move. It is impossible! He likes to switch things up from day to day too, just to keep me on the edge of insanity. I cannot tell you how many times I have made him a sandwich that he gobbles up one day only to have him throw it across the room the next!
I have struggled and bribed and almost given up at times, but I have also learned a few tricks along the way to help ease mealtime meltdowns. It all centers around getting your kid interested in the meal. If they don’t want to do something they will dig in their heels and outlast even the most patient parents until we cave to their crazy strong will! It’s no fun for them to “have to” eat lunch, they need to view it as another cool activity they look forward to.
Mealtime Tip: Have fun tableware and utensils.
One of our biggest roadblocks has been that whenever we sit down to eat Judah doesn’t pay attention to his meal. His mind is off somewhere else, watching the birds outside, wanting to play cars or whatever else he would rather be doing. If you want to spark your toddler’s interest, try something fun like the Nuby iMonster feeding set. Judah can’t get enough of this wacky 3 piece set featuring a plate, bowl and utensils!
How could you NOT want to eat on that? I love the bright colors and am going to have to get another because Judah always asks for his “monster” when I’m cooking now! If you don’t like this style Nuby also offers other great options like their Flower Child feeding set and the Wacky Ware line.
Mealtime Tip: Stick with simple, healthy options.
Your toddler might want nothing but Spaghetti-os all day, but that isn’t very healthy. Offer options like fresh fruit or whole wheat crackers with hummus for dipping. Hummus (Judah’s favorite food) is an excellent source of protein and it comes in a large variety of flavors. Giving them crackers or fruit to dip will let them have a little control over their meal and help pass the time as well. Sometimes toddlers have trouble with textures or mixed ingredient foods, so sticking to fresh, single ingredients like pasta without sauce or plain rice are always a good bet.
Mealtime Tip: Make it fun.
If your toddler isn’t enjoying his meal, chances are he won’t eat it either. I have not been above bribery when I am desperate, but that is a bad road to go down. I want him to eat, but I don’t want him expecting a reward at the end of every lunch. Instead, I have started making a game out of eating and he seems to like it so far. I start by having him tell me all the colors of his food, and then I will ask him to match them with some color cards we have. If a food doesn’t have a matching color (like bread) I’ll ask him what around the room has the same color. He gets a kick out of it AND he eats too! Check out the photo below, he matched his bread to his monster’s teeth!
From cool feeding sets like the iMonster to playing silly games, there are many great ways to help your child have a stress free meal. As long as you keep it fun and engaging, even the most fickle kiddos will gladly pull up a chair and dig in!
Do you have any great tips to share? What works (and doesn’t) for you? I would love to hear them!
*I wrote this post as a member of the Nuby Mommy Blogger team. All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced in any way.*