Many parents find that mealtimes become more difficult as their baby turns into a toddler and becomes more independent. Although this can be very frustrating, remember that fussy eating is a normal phase in the development of most toddlers and will pass with time.
Fortunately, most toddlers will eat enough to keep them going, even when they refuse foods on occasion. Try not to fret too much about what your toddler eats in a single meal, or even in a single day. Instead, think about what he or she eats over the course of a week. That way, you can avoid turning mealtimes into stressful occasions for both of you.
Some reasons your toddler may be a fussy eater:
Toddlers can refuse food for many different reasons; here are some of the most common:
- Too many treats/drinks close to mealtimes – even though toddlers tend to graze throughout the day, try to stop them from eating just before lunch or dinnertime; if they do want something try something light like apple slices or some raisins.
- Not sure about trying unfamiliar textures and tastes – kids will copy what others do, so try and sit down with your toddler at meal times and let them try foods you eat.
- Introduce new foods gradually - offer your toddler just one new food at a time, and try not to make a big fuss about it, as too many choices can be overwhelming.
Other tips for encouraging toddlers to eat well include making their food look appealing. Colourful food cut into small pieces that they can easily pick up and eat will tempt many little ones to eat.
And what about drinks?
Offering water to drink with every meal and throughout the day is important to keep little ones hydrated and their digestion operating effectively. Milk is also a popular choice for its vitamin, mineral and calcium benefits, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be cows’ milk. Many parents prefer goats’ milk for their little ones, either fresh or as toddler formula.
A simple and easy way to try goats' milk is in toddler formula available from Oli6®. Specially formulated for toddlers, it can be made up into a drink and used in meals. Oli6 is manufactured in Australia, adhering to the strict Australian regulatory guidelines. It provides the benefits of 18 essential vitamins and minerals to support normal growth and development in children and contains calcium and vitamin D for normal bone and teeth structure and naturally has high levels of prebiotic Oligos to aid digestion in little tummies.
Some ideas to tempt a fussy eater:
If you are looking for some new food ideas that might tempt your toddler, take a look at some of these tried and tested ideas below.
Baby Banana Pancakes
These pancakes are more banana than pancake, so they offer a great way of getting some fruit into your toddler, and the small shapes are fun to eat with your fingers! Make sure they have cooled in the middle before serving to little ones.
2 bananas, cut into disks
1/4 cup wholemeal self-raising flour (for dusting)
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup goat’s milk or Oli6 Toddler Milk Drink
50g butter, melted
1. Dust the bananas in the 1/4 cup of flour to coat.
2. In a bowl, mix the batter by combining the 1 cup of flour with the egg and milk and sugar and whisking vigorously.
3. Heat a frying pan and melt a little butter in it.
4. Dip the banana disks in the batter and fry on each side until golden.
These little meatballs are easy to whip up and are baked in the oven to ensure they don’t contain too much fat. Vary the flavour of the sausage used and serve with some pasta and tomato sauce for a great toddler (and older kids) meal.
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4-1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Add: pasta and sauce, if you like
1. Preheat oven to 190 C. Mix meatball ingredients well in a medium bowl. Portion into small 3-5cm meatballs. Place on a foil-lined tray and bake for 20 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
2. Cook pasta separately. If using sauce, add meatballs and keep warm until pasta is ready.