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krose1223's avatar

Healthy eating for an almost toddler?

Asked by krose1223 (3254points) October 4th, 2008

My son is creeping up on 16 months and slowly becoming a picky eater. I want to instill good eating habits now but I have run out of ideas. Any good recipes or healthy snack foods you have been successful with? Or maybe sneaky things I like to try (like squash baby food mixed with his macaroni)

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11 Answers

Snoopy's avatar

I have two toddlers. I remember reading somewhere that kids sometimes have to be offered a food an average of a ridiculous number of times (I think it was 17, for some reason) before eating a particular food.

If you are particularly interested in cookbooks I saw Jessica Seinfeld promoting this book on The Great One’s (read: Oprah) show.

We don’t feed our kids special stuff from what we are eating at any given meal. We urge them to at least try something. Even if it is only a teeny bit. And if we are having a treat or something after dinner, they definitely don’t get any of it if they haven’t tried said items….

skfinkel's avatar

I think it is good to offer children all kinds of foods, but I wouldn’t worry too much about what they eat, as long as they are growing and healthy. And, in contrast to Jessica Seinfeld, I would never withhold treats that everyone else is having after dinner. Our country is rife with food problems, and I would attach as little energy to food as possible. Some children are picky eaters, and who cares?

Snoopy's avatar

@skfinkel I didn’t mean to imply that this was something Jessica Seinfeld advocated (RE treats).

That is something we personally do w/ our kids. We do not feel it is OK for them to not eat dinner and just eat cookies or ice cream. But thanks for your thoughts.

shilolo's avatar

I have to disagree with masking or hiding veggies. I think kids just need to see the same foods, over and over again, and see their parents eating those same foods. I think that kids should not be offered alternatives if they don’t eat dinner. If they don’t eat, they don’t eat. It may sound cruel, but very soon they will learn that it is either try and eat what the whole family is eating, or they don’t eat.

Snoopy's avatar

@Shilolo A man after my own heart.

I remember as a kid being forced to “clean my plate”. I thought it was stupid as a kid. I wasn’t hungry for cripes sakes! My mom still gives me too much food if we eat at her house.
So. My house, my rules. We give small portions. They can have more if they want….They don’t have to clear their plates. We don’t make “special” meals for them. They eat what we eat. But. If they won’t at least try all the stuff we are having and we happen to have desset that night, then no dessert.

Judi's avatar

When my kids were young we just couldn’t afford to be picky. We had some extremely lean weeks and I got very creative with beans. My kids didn’t know the concept if “I don’t like that. ” If they didn’t like it they didn’t eat, that’s just the way it was.
Lurve to you for pointing out that no kid will starve if food is staring them in the face :-)

JohnRobert's avatar

If I could go back in time to my childhood, knowing what I do now, I would cut out High Fructose Corn Syrup and refined sugars. Not just in my snacks, but in all meals. I would have been better focused in school and had more energy.

Having said that, here are a couple snacks I enjoy:

1) Fruits and veggies work as long as they are cut up ahead of time and put in small, sandwich-sized tupperware. This is so that when you open the fridge, you can grab it and start eating without going through the trouble of cutting it up. It has to be as convenient to grab as the bag of chips.

2) This takes more time, but a snack I like is taking pita bread or thin corn tortillias and putting some olive oil on them, and then put them in the broiler or toaster oven to make them paritally crispy. Tear those up into sections and use them to dip into a warm black bean dip.

jca's avatar

krose: i see from your question that your son is about the same age as my daughter. she’s 16 months. she is always welcome to eat what i’m eating, so for that reason i try not to eat anything in front of her that i don’t want her to eat. i give her plain yogurt, cottage cheese, applesauce (unsweetened), pastina, all fruit, vegetables, raisins, bread, potatoes, chicken soup (homemade by my mother), rice, little bites occasionally of beef or pork, zwieback toast, eggs, “teething biscuits.” not yet: hot dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets, mcdonalds.

beverleybrooke's avatar

How about smoothies? They’re a great fun and tasty way to get kids to eat fruit and drink something that isn’t soda… grab a free ebook of recipies here:

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