From Logan’s very first bite, I knew that we had to change our approach to nutrition with him. My wonderful and very stubborn child (I wonder where he gets that quality from) let me know from that very first bite that I was in no way going to be spoon feeding him anything. Ever. He was 6 months and already fiercely independent. I did some research and we decided to do our own version of Baby Led Weaning, which generally encourages exploring food at their own pace from the get go. Instead of a bowl full of purees, I offered him half a banana or baked sweet potato fries to gnaw on. I realize that this approach isn’t for everyone, but it worked well for us. It also transferred his healthy eating habits nicely into toddlerhood, where my fiercely independent 6 month year old turned into an outspoken fiercely independent 2 year old.
As you can imagine, I’m a big advocate for letting kids explore and “play” with their food. Kids primarily communicate through play, so what better way to encourage healthy eating than through play! Tyson is giving away a free plate on their facebook page to help make mealtime fun, check it out! Here are my tips and tricks, along with some fun toddler approved recipes, for getting a picky tot to eat.
1. Cut food into fun shapes. Get out those cookie cutters and transform cucumbers into ducks and apples into fish. I’ve also seen healthy chicken nuggets in fun-friendly shapes that would be an easy go-to meal.
2. Offer healthy choices. My 2 year old is much more likely to eat a healthy food if he is in control of picking what he eats. For snack time, I typically give him 2 healthy options and he’s usually more receptive to the food choices when he’s in charge of which one he gets to eat.
3. Head to a petting zoo. I’m serious. If your child is into animals, like mine is, use that to your advantage! As soon as Logan learned that horses ate carrots, he’s been asking for a carrot a day – a big full-sized carrot, like he got to feed the horse.
4. Use imagination to your advantage. Pretend play starts at around age 2, sometimes even earlier, so totally take advantage of this and make meal time fun. The veggies in my son’s omelet? That would be dinosaur food that will turn you into a dinosaur and cause you to RAWR at the breakfast table!
5. Have your child help in the kitchen. Logan loves helping me in the kitchen and is more likely to eat something he cooked. Even just having them set a timer or pour an ingredient, they’ll love it!
Tyson® Chicken Nuggets are a great start at a healthy plate. Learn how to get a free colorful plate to make mealtime more fun!
Now that I’ve shared how I got my picky eaters to eat balanced meals, share your success story for a chance to win a $1,000!