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By Thea Theresa English

Overcoming your toddler's picky eating habits

Between ages one and four in particular, you notice that your toddler will not eat certain foods and you get frustrated as a parent. One main reason why many toddlers periodically refuse to eat is because their weight and overall growth slows down during this phase. This could mean a decreased appetite for some toddlers. In addition, toddlers are too busy exploring their environments to show much interest in meals. Also keep in mind that toddlers prefer to nibble on a variety of foods instead of eating a standard meal. Here are some tips for feeding your picky toddler.

Prepare fruit smoothies

Some toddlers are not the biggest fans of fruits, but you don't have to give up on them. Make fruit smoothies and add flavors such as almond milk, yogurt, cinnamon, honey or raw sugar. These smoothies can be served for breakfast, as a snack or for dessert.

Give them healthier versions of their favorite foods

Another idea is to give your toddler healthier versions of their favorite foods. If your toddler likes potato chips, substitute apple and banana chips. Apple and banana chips are naturally sweet and can be found at most grocery stores. If the toddler enjoys milkshakes from the coffeehouse, make a healthy version using almond milk, cocoa powder, honey and vanilla extract. For the toddler who enjoys fried chicken strips, you can make breaded strips in the oven. Instead of using white breadcrumbs, use wheat ones.

Be a good example of a healthy eater

Toddlers often imitate their parents, and one of the best ways to overcome picky eating in your kids is to be a good example. Let your child see you eat healthy foods such as yogurt, fruits and vegetables, nuts and lean meats on a regular basis. Talk about how good healthy foods taste and have them help you cook with these foods.

Make dinnertime fun

Another idea is to make dinnertime fun. Take some cookie cutters and turn your sandwiches into crazy shaped delicacies. Drizzle some ketchup or honey over the meats you serve and sing songs about what you will serve for dinner. If you're making glazed carrots, sing about the brown sugar you will put on the carrots. This might entice the child to eat dinner.

Hide the vegetables in sauces

Another way to get your child to enjoy vegetables is to hide them in sauces. If you are making macaroni with cheese sauce, you can add finely shredded carrots or green peas to the cheese sauce. Or if your toddler loves pasta with tomato sauce, you can disguise finely chopped green beans, celery or green peas in the sauce.

Practice patience

It helps to understand that it might take a few tries before your toddler will enjoy certain foods that you make. Patience is important during this time, and soon your child will surprise you by asking for foods he previously rejected.

The toddler years are challenging for mealtimes, but with the above-mentioned mentioned steps, you can get through it.

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