Mealtimes troubleshooting checklist
- Is your child growing and thriving? If the answer is ‘Yes’, there’s no need to worry.
- Are they filling up on drinks? Because toddlers only have small tummies, too much juice or milk could be filling them up. If this is the case, gradually cut down and give them plain water instead, unless you are continuing to breastfeed.
- Does your tot keep asking for sweet and fatty foods? Have healthy snacks to hand to avoid denting their appetite with high-calorie food like sweets, biscuits and crisps. Dried fruit has a high nutritional value and its counted as one of their five-a-day. However, as it sticks to teeth and contains a lot of sugar, it can cause tooth decay. It should be given at mealtimes only as it is less damaging to teeth this way.
- Are they saying no to everything? Remember, there isn’t any food your tot has to eat. If they don’t like something, don’t force it. Instead, find an alternative from the same food group which they do like and try again another day. In the longer term, you could review their snacking options. Find more tips for getting your kids to eat healthy foods and view healthy snacking options for toddlers.
- Is your toddler still eating after everyone else has finished? Some children like to take things slowly. Have patience. If they don’t finish their food, take it away and don’t give them attention for not eating. Trying to force children to carry on eating when they have had enough could lead to over eating. Mealtimes should not really last longer than 30 minutes. You could try rewarding them for eating all of their food.
Some important things you need to digest
- Helping your child learn to enjoy eating well could help reduce their risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes in later life.
- Always wash and dry your hands before handling, serving or eating food and make sure your toddler washes their hands too. This will help prevent you and your toddler from getting tummy aches and other illnesses.
- Add variety by providing a good mix of foods and tastes and vary the way you cook. Skip the fry-ups and try grilling, stir-frying, stewing and steaming and serving some raw salads or finger foods. Remember – a portion of fruit for a toddler is what they can hold in their hand.
- Spending time together over mealtimes is really important for a toddler. Try and eat together as a family for at least one meal a day