The toddler years bring a whole new set of challenges for parents. Your toddler will be asserting his autonomy and ‘will’ in almost every scenario. From sleep time to outings, you will be experiencing a battle of wills at times. Meal times are often where the battles are most vehemently fought: the more desperate you become to get the nutrients in, the more stubbornly, your toddler refuses to eat.
Sound familiar? Well research tells us that battles at mealtimes are the one battle we as parents should not be taking on, as it can be really damaging to our little one’s self esteem and can affect appetite control for life, resulting in eating disorders or obesity.
It is important to know what you should be controlling and what falls into your toddler’s domain. When it comes to mealtimes, parents should control WHAT, WHEN AND WHERE –
- Offer nutritious food – preferably no processed carbs and sugars
- Offer enriched and fortified meals so that the little that is eaten covers the nutritional bases -you can fortify a smoothie or porridge by adding a supplement such as Bio-Strath that has readily absorbable micro nutrients
- Manage mealtimes and snack times and discourage snacking all day
- Have a specific space for meals and don’t follow your child around the house with food. The family table is social and a great place for little ones to enjoy meals.
Your baby should control HOW MUCH – let him stop eating when he is full. Offer one more mouthful and then let the meal/snack be over until the next time for food. By respecting your child’s appetite, you teach him to do the same.