Eating as a toddler: what changes?
If you are breastfeeding, keep it up. In addition to water, you can now introduce milk as a drink – limit it to no more than 2 cups (500mL) so that your Toddler does not fill up on milk and refuse solid foods. Also, there are a number of toddler milk drinks available which are tailored specifically to the needs of toddlers when energy and nutrient intakes may not be adequate.
Toddlers need encouragement and practice to move on from soft mashed foods to more chunky textures. It can be messy, but that’s part of the fun! Let them feed themselves as much as possible and experiment with tastes, colours, and textures. Make eating a pleasant experience full of new discoveries rather than a battle ground.
Eating as a family
Toddlers thrive on eating together around a table. They watch and learn good eating habits from the rest of the family, and love the social banter. Even if you prefer a later meal, try and sit down at the table for your toddler’s early dinner, and serve a small snack plate for yourself.
Toddlers love to help. Make the most of it while they are keen and let them do some little jobs in the kitchen such as fetching milk from the fridge, stirring a mixture, or adding ingredients. Getting your toddler involved in the preparation or cooking of unfamiliar foods and textures can make them more open to trying new foods at meal times. Just make sure the kitchen is a safe place, e.g. knives away, no hot water and any chemicals out of reach. You could even set them up with their very own work station.