Creating toddler meal ideas, which encourage a toddler to actually
sit down and eat, is one of the many issues mothers have when
raising active and picky toddlers. Since two and three year olds
also love to feed themselves, meals should be made of small pieces
of food that a toddler can pick up and safely eat.
Planned Kids Cooking Curriculum
~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~
Chopped bites of dry food tend not to stay on a spoon when toddlers
are involved in manipulating the spoon by themselves. So, if your
toddler likes to use a spoon, chopped pieces of food can be mixed
with fruit-flavored yogurt so the food will remain on the spoon.
Reasons why most toddlers are picky eaters concern developmental
causes. After almost tripling their size during the first year of
life, toddlers experience a slowdown in growth between one and three
years of age. Because they are not growing as quickly, they simply
don't need the amount of food they once required.
In addition, toddlers are extremely curious and restless little
people, with brains that demand to be constantly stimulated. Sitting
down and eating is the last thing on their minds, which is why
toddler meal ideas should be oriented around snacks rather than
whole, sit-down dinners. Those will come later when your toddler has
become a ravenous adolescent experiencing another astonishing growth
Mothers, you should understand that the eating habits of toddlers
are not something they understand and control. They just know that
when they are hungry, they can eat just enough to eliminate that
hungry feeling and be on their busy way again without interrupting
their exploration of the world too much.
Food and the Toddler
It is common for toddlers to binge on one kind of food or almost no
food for several days at a time. He may only want meat one day,
fruit the next and practically nothing but juice to drink the next.
Normal toddlers generally require about 1300 calories per day, but
probably don't get that. Therefore, you should "plot" for a
nutritional five or six days as a whole, rather than trying to get
your toddler to eat a balanced diet every day.
small pasta shapes cooked and mixed with vegetable mix
Make teaching easier with our activities and recipes compiled in one easy to read format.
Nibble, Nibble, Nibble
Toddler meal ideals should be based on one concept--nutritious
snacks that are offered throughout the day rather than three big
meals. Like a cow or sheep roaming a field and grazing at will,
toddlers also prefer to live this way and feel frustrated when they
are not allowed to indulge in this behavior. They also get bored
quickly because of that information-absorbing brain and need variety
to keep their attention.
Fun Toddler Food
With the busy toddler in mind, here are some food ideas, which may
entice your toddler to pick up a piece of food and pop it in his
mouth (with a little encouragement from you)
thinly sliced apple pieces (shaped like moons) surrounded by
thinly sliced carrots (shaped like planets)
pieces of avocado (they look like boats) on a bed of blue
broccoli pieces or "trees"
banana slices (drizzle a little chocolate on them so they look
cheese cubes (stack them on top of one another and eat them
quickly before they fall)
celery with peanut butter (have the toddler pretend to be a
builder who fills the "cracks" of the celery with peanut butter
After offering the snacks, leave the tray where your child can
easily reach for a bite when he wants one. Also, if you have older
children in the household, ask them to come up with inventive
toddler meal ideas. They may even want to help in preparing the
Blood sugar is another factor in toddler behavior. When a toddler
goes a long time without eating (around two or more hours) his
behavior becomes unpredictable and more "toddler-like". This is
because their blood sugar level has become unstable and is lower
than it should be.
Allowing your toddler to graze during most of the day to keep that
metabolism busy burning food, and his behavior may remain more
stable and less moody. Just by understanding how your toddler's mind
and body works, makes toddler meal ideas much easier to create--or