Being a picky eater is a common behavior of many children.
After their initial growth spurt during the first year, a toddler’s growing rate and their appetite kind of slows down. They become more aware of what they are being fed, hence become more selective of their food.
My oldest, Arya, was a very picky eater!
After about a year and a half, we had to literally beg or force her to eat.
This may sound bad, but I try not to make special meals for my daughter. I prefer that she ate whatever is cooked that day, thus I refrain from making her a separate meal.
When my daughter was an infant, I would give her bought as well as home-made pureed food. For the most part, I would just puree whatever was cooked that day, and feed her that instead of the bottled/packaged meals. For example, if I made lentil soup and rice, I would just puree that for her. As she grew older and started eating solids, she would just eat slightly mashed lentil soup, carrots, rice, etc.
However, after she turned 1, she started turning her nose at her meals. I fed her whatever I cooked (keeping in mind the spice level for her), but I noticed that she was becoming picky and stubborn at meal times.
To ensure she was getting her nourishment, I switched gears to give her food that she liked when she was an infant. Her favorites are avocado, mangoes, banana, and sweet potatoes.
In her meals, I would add a few of her favorite items and trick her into eating her food.
Pinterest was my lifesaver!
I looked up “meals for toddlers”, “picky eating toddlers”, “snacks kids eat”, and much more and found some wonderful meal and snack ideas for my daughter.
Some worked, some did not, and despite my failed attempt to kick her picky eating habit, I was able to get her to eat a variety of food, and that was a win!
Even today, she remains a picky and temperamental eater, although not as bad as before. 😊 I do not worry about her choices in food (she loves veggies and fruits). I worry that she is fickle with food and about her tiny portions.
Here I am listening some of her favorite meals and snacks (during 2-3.5 years of age), and I hope you can try this with your picky little one!
50 Meal & Snacks for Parents of a Picky Eater
- Peanut butter on breakfast crackers.
- Peanut butter with bread, avocado and banana sandwich (her most favorite sandwich!!)
- Mac and cheese (with parmesan chips on top)
- Mini banana nut muffins (I make the regular muffins for adults and the mini ones for the kiddos)
- Nutella on bread/crackers (when it’s on bread, I cut them in super tiny squares and she would snack it up).
- Banana with a little Nutella on the side.
- Waffles (I get them from Costco and pop them in the toaster and serve without syrup).
- Maple sugar oatmeal.
- Cereals: Cinnamon toast, cheerios,
- Scrambled eggs with cheese.
- Snap Peas
- Strawberry Greek Yogurt (She loves all kinds of yogurt).
- Penne pasta in slight white sauce (just to flavor it lightly, or sometimes just butter), with chunks of chicken thrown in.
- Black eye peas, steamed, then cooked to crispiness in a little bit of oil, and salt. (sort of like black eye peas chips)
- Sweet potato fries (throw sweet potatoes in the microwave for 3-4 mins, cut thin slices, fry or bake it crispy).
- Corn – she loves corn but not the canned ones, the real deal. I cook corn on the cob by boiling it, and then rub some salted butter on it slightly for taste.
- Broccoli, spinach soup! Okay I am not lying, my daughter may be a picky eater, but she is a darn healthy eater! She loved this soup and would eat that with her grandmother all the time. (basically, only broccoli, spinach throw in water with a pinch of salt).
- Grilled cheese sandwich.
- Strawberry and blueberries fruit mixed together.
- Lentil soup and rice (she was temperamental with these at times).
- Tortilla – home-made warm tortilla with butter/or ghee (purified butter).
- Rice with butter, and sometimes id throw in chicken chunks.
- Mango, banana, blueberry smoothie.
- Hard-boiled eggs – she is moody with eggs but if she eats them, its with ketchup.
- Peanut butter, boysenberry jam on bread (I had a love phase with boysenberry jam and it stuck to her).
- Banana pancakes.
- Sliced oranges (another favorite).
- Tofu with stir fried vegetables.
- Plain yogurt with banana and some sprinkles for fun.
- Spinach fritters.
- Rice and chicken curry (low on spice).
- Chicken flavored Maggie noodles.
- Avocado, peanut butter on croissant.
- Chicken and noodle with carrots soup (home-made).
- Chopped asian salad (we buy them from Costco and lately every time I ate it, she did too. Go light on the dressing and I also added croutons- big hit!)
- Baked salmon with ketchup.
- Chocolate chip muffin (the one from Costco is a big hit!)
- Cheerios and blueberries.
- Yogurt popsicles (recipes here, or just put a stick in the Yoplait containers and put them in the freezer, tear and serve).
- Brownies (guilty pleasure for mama also😊)
- Sweet peas and potato curry with rice.
- Semolina cooked in milk.
- Home-made trail mix (cheerios, almond slices, raisins, peanuts, and some M&Ms).
- Cheese ravioli.
- Carrot salad (add carrots, berries, cheese cubes in a bowl and mix and serve).
- Chocolate banana smoothie
- Microwave nacho chips (with cheese).
- Grilled chicken with ketchup, and bun.
- Steamed idli (minus the chutney or spice).
- Garlic bread (not super fond of pizza but she does like garlic bread).
Feeding a picky eater is no cup of tea!
Despite liking food, my daughter can be temperamental about it. It can be quite frustrating, but I do realize that this is a common behavior of young ones. I try to balance her meals as best as possible. We also avoid fast foods like McDonald’s, Taco bells, etc. I am happy to say that she has never had a Happy Meal so far, and if possible, I would like to keep it that way.
Arya is a fairly healthy eater. As you can see, her choice of food isn’t super bad. She does like ice-cream, chocolates, or other snacks like any kid would, but we keep those at a minimum to avoid future obesity or diabetes.
Making meal times fun is a good way to get through to picky eaters. And, as parents, we should not be too rigid about their food either. This could turn the kids off food introducing eating disorders later in the future.
Kids will be kids, and I try to let Arya choose her meals with some supervision and guidance. My goal is to ensure that she is eats sufficient and relatively healthy meals through supervision and on her own.
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