What do I feed my toddler? My child is picky, how do I get them to try new things? What do you feed your 2-3 year old? I get asked these questions often. As a health coach who shares on Instagram or Facebook all the healthy meals I'm eating, one would assume I just do the same meals or force our daughter to eat healthy 100% of the time too, right? Ehh sorta...
So here's how it really is in our house. My daughter has gone through a CHEESE ONLY phase where that's all she wanted - that was tough, but by just not having it in the house for her, she HAD to eat other foods. So that's one recommendation I give to my friends when they have a child that only wants one thing...don't buy the one thing. You'll go through a short period of complaining, but if it's a habit that needs to be stopped, like a chain smoker and her cigs, go cold turkey on it. Okay maybe not that extreme ;) make it a little easier and if they are old enough offer two other options that YOU approve of and have her pick which one she would love.
But in reality, here is generally how we feed our toddler:
Breakfast is usually eggs or plain greek yogurt with a little fruit or 'natural' jelly mixed in aka no extra sugars, or oatmeal with banana.
Lunches for her are normally soup (tomato or chicken noodle are favorite), PBJ or grilled cheese, or a plate mix of yogurt or meat, a fruit or a veggie or both, and a little treat like cheese or cranberries/raisin. Our toddler likes green beans, straight from the can and steamed broccoli - just try these foods. Eat them in front of your kids too. That seems to go a LONG way!
Dinners with Braelyn we always offer her our food and tell her to try it, like spaghetti squash she had to try about 3 times before she liked it. We always have her take about 3 bites before we will even consider giving her something else and just tell her how proud we are she tired it!
Snacks on clean bars (Lara Bars, That's It bars or gluten free ones we've found at Aldi that don't have a ton of extra things), Annie's goldfish, pretzels, cracker and hummus, carrots, apples, cheese is a favorite but given less frequently now because we just haven't had it around.
And when all fails I normally have some pasta cooked up and just add shredded sharp cheese (get a block and shred yourself - tastes WAY better - and go for a Cabot or a more expensive brand that is rsbt free is what we do) add plain greek yogurt to it once it's warmed to make some mac n cheese that's easy and clean and delicious!
Kids are picky - they have more 'vivid' taste buds than us. I find if I say something is gross in front of Braelyn, she will believe it to be gross too. If I say it's delicious, she will give it a try and likely say it's okay or 'I don't like it" but at least she tried, right? So while some of this is what do I do to get my kid to eat well or eat something other than cheese (which was our case) it was what am I SHOWING HER with food? Do I constantly turn my nose up, or do I give food a try? Do I just eat preprocessed foods, or do I shop the permimiters of the grocery store and get whole foods? When it comes to nutrition for our kids, it starts with us. It has a lot to do , at least in my family, with my response to foods as well as how much I will let her complain or tell her a firm no.
I hope this helps you and your child! This is a post you might enjoy where I give specifics on some family friendly meals we LOVE in this house!