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Food Tips and Tricks for Picky Toddlers and Babies

By Katie Jasiewicz
February 21, 2017
Baby & KidsMain Dishes

kjasci.pngIf you are a parent of a toddler, you know that eating can be one of the most challenging tasks of the day! I have a two and a half year old and some days he eats like a champ, but most days he’s pushing the plate to the side and saying “yuck.” Saying “yuck,” mind you, to the same thing he has loved for the past few months! When my son was a baby and just learning to eat he loved all the vegetables along with chicken and beef. I felt like I wasn’t going to have one of those “picky eaters.” At around 15 months my world was turned upside down and all of a sudden he decided he no longer wanted any veggies! What?! As a kid, I was practically a vegetarian, so I was not prepared to have a meat and potatoes kind of kid!

First, I started by only cooking one meal for dinner. I’m not a short-order cook, and refuse to make multiple meals. He eats what we eat. I always put everything that I cooked on his plate (smaller portions of course). Even though I know he won’t eat the vegetables they are always on his plate: 1-2 carrots, green beans, or a spoonful of peas. I offer it up! I also find that when he see’s me eating healthy snacks like hummus with raw carrots and cucumbers or apples with peanut butter he wants to try it and eat it too! You have to lead by example.

Here are a few things that I have found work with getting my picky eater (and others) to actually eat the good stuff!

  • Talk about what you’re buying while grocery shopping. I do this every time we shop and now he actually tries and sometimes does more than try—he eats his serving of carrots and green beans!
  • Let them stir/mix dinner! With lots of supervision, I try to let my son be part of the cooking process. One of my girlfriends has a rule if you help cook you have to at least try!
  • Give your toddler choices. They are at the age where they are starting to be able to decipher what they want and what they don’t want! I find when I ask him I have a better success rate of him actually eating what I cooked.
  • Don’t tell them they are picky! They catch on fast and the last thing you want to do is “label” them.
  • Practice what you preach—show them you like what you are trying to serve them. Never tell them you don’t like something.

Recipes for picky eaters:

  • Yogurt: Of course this is going to be at the top of my list. It’s a staple in our house and so many others. My son loves the Stonyfield Whole Milk Yogurt pouches and I love that they are filled with a variety of fruits and veggies!  I also like to freeze a few of the YoKids Squeezers and give them as an “ice pop” treat! Some days my son doesn’t want anything for breakfast but an ice pop. I feel totally okay giving that to him since I know it’s just frozen yogurt, and he thinks he is getting a big treat! That’s a win-win in my book!
  • Smoothies: one of the top ways to sneak in tons of fruits and veggies. My son loves making smoothies and I always throw in spinach or kale into it to make sure he’s getting enough of the good stuff! Here are a few of my favorite kid-approved smoothies from the web: Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie, Blueberry Pancake Green Smoothie, and Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie.
  • Meatballs: I like to mash in sweet potatoes, puree spinach, and any other veggies that I can disguise in a meatball! Give this recipe a try for baby-approved beef meatballs!
  • Rice & Grains: You can hide a lot in rice, creamy rices like risotto, or any other grains. Check out this recipe for Bacon & Asparagus Faux-sotto {Risotto}.
  • Mac & Cheese: I like to steam carrots, then puree them and add in a little 100% cheese powder to make a creamy cheesy mac and cheese that is packed full of beta-carotene! My son eats this carrot macaroni and cheese recipe right up and has no idea that he’s really eating mac & carrots! Sub out whole milk and add in Stonyfield Whole Milk Plain Yogurt for additional nutritional benefits. Another recipe I found is this hidden veggie mac & cheese!
  • Pancakes: you can puree and add just about anything into pancakes! I always like to add in ground flax meal to my pancakes. Here are a few hidden gem recipes that might work as well for your picky toddler: Chocolate Banana Greek Yogurt Pancakes or Flax Pancakes with Banana-Coconut Compote
  • Oatmeal: if your child doesn’t have texture issues with oatmeal you can hide all sorts of fruits and veggies in oatmeal! Think about pureing a combo of fruits and veggies into the oatmeal. Check out this recipe for Creamy Steal Cut Oats with Cherries, or if the texture bothers them try these chocolate chip oatmeal muffins or this single serve oatmeal pancake!

What are your tips and tricks to get your picky toddler to eat their fruits and veggies? Have any recipe suggestions? Leave us a comment below!

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