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You are here: Home > Toddlers > Toddler Health

When Your Toddler Refuses to Eat

by CJ Krebbs | 1 Comments

What do you do when your child won't eat?

Many parents today are facing this issue more so than you would think. Toddlers, especially, assert their independence by becoming a picky eater sometimes. No need to panic if your child doesn't get the recommended number of calories a day. Instead of panicking, focus on helping your child develop good eating habits. (First, we'd like to say that you should always consult your family doctor first in any concern about your child.)

Good eating habits can be accomplished in many ways.

Start off by offering your child the regular three meals a day and three snacks a day. When planning out meals, make certain to contain a variety of foods consisting of many options that you know your child likes and other options he/she hasn't tried or hasn't like.

If at first your child doesn't show interest in a certain food, try again. You should try at least up to ten times. Increasing familiarity of a certain food, may help your child like it after several tries.

Though your own mother told you not to play with your food and therefor you tell your child not to either, change that train of thought. Let your child have fun with food. They can make faces in their meals, shape a meal with cookie cutters, pretend potatoes are cake and cut it up with their fork, etc. Let them be creative, and be creative with them.

If your child is resistant to your efforts, try adding cheese, a little bit of salt or sugar to spice it up for them. Cheese makes a great add on for vegetables. Children are more likely to enjoy them with their favorite melt atop of it.

Limit the amount of milk and juice intake. Although good for your child, you should limit the intake of milk to only three 8 oz glasses a day, and juice to only about 4 oz. a day.

And always remember that it is not good to force a child to eat. Your child knows when they are hungry and full. Trust them to be able to tell the difference on their own. If your child won't eat dinner but insists on snack, they probably are still hungry. Offer a compromise, for example: If they eat half of their dinner, you will allow them to have a snack afterwards. If still hungry after snack, they may return to their dinner plate. (This is only an example)

If your child is underweight, you can help add extra calories by slipping in dry nonfat powdered milk into your child's milk, yogurt, pudding, mac-n-cheese, or even soup. Also, make use of these tasty foods that can help pack in the calories: cream cheese, peanut butter, syrup, and margarine.

If you think that nothing is helping, you should consult your family doctor.

How can I get my 16 month old daughter to eat meat and veggies?What are the signs of a toddler being iron deficient?

Copyright 2001, CJ Krebs

CJ Krebs, proud mother of four children, who writes short parenting articles and bible studies.

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Katherine May 12, 2005 04:56:04 PM ET

My 14 month old is so picky about eatting, she loves crackers and cookies, but will not eat meat. how do i get her to eat more than a bite of chicken at a time?

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