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How to Feed Toddlers

Toddler Feeding
Sometimes, teaching young ones to eat right is a challenge. These toddler-feeding tips can help:

Feeding Toddlers Tips

  • Set a Good Example. Sit down with your child at meal and snack times and be a positive role model for healthy eating.
  • One Favorite Food. At mealtime, serve at least one MyPyramid food that you know your little one loves. That way, if your child is having a "no" kind of day and refuses to eat what you prepared, you can be reasonably sure that he or she will eat at least one nutritious food.
  • The Choice Is Theirs. Let your child decide how much to eat. Toddlers and preschoolers may not eat as much as they did when they were younger. Their growth rate has slowed down so they may need fewer calories. Some parents forget that young children eat smaller portions than their older brothers and sisters. Click here for more tips on portion sizes for kids.
  • Try, Try Again. When you're introducing new foods, some children may have to see it up to 10 times before they feel brave enough to try it. Be sure they see you enjoying the food, since many kids want to be like their parents.
  • Portable Food. Pack a few foods if you're going to be on the go at mealtime. Include foods from at least four of the MyPyramid food groups. For example, pick your favorite bread (Grain Group), sandwiches filled with meat (Meat & Beans Group) or cheese (Milk Group), carrot sticks - cook until soft; cut into strips; then chill (Vegetable Group), and orange sections (Fruit Group).
  • Let Go. Don't coax or beg your child to eat. Eating (or not eating) is one of the few things that young kids can control. The more you push, the more your child may push back by refusing to eat. Simply offer nutritious foods at meals and snack times and let your child decide.
  • Stick to Your Guns. Keeping your toddler’s preferences in mind, decide what to serve, and stick with your decision, even if your child begs for something else. If you start making other foods on demand, your child might expect you to be a short order cook at every meal.
  • Safety Rules. Create a safe toddler-feeding environment to minimize potential choking hazards. Make sure your child sits while eating and eats only when an adult is present. Cut foods into small, bite-size pieces before serving.

Click here for tips on feeding ‘tweens and teens'.

Tips for Toddler Feeding