As your child grows, changes and develops from a baby to a toddler, their food preferences and nutritional needs also grow, change and develop. When a toddler’s appetite begins to wane or they refuse food or change their preferences, it isn’t just to make us worry. There are some distinct changes taking place that may make your toddler seem like a picky eater. Below I explain why this happens plus share some amazing ways you can help your toddler consume sufficient calories, get the nutrients they need and develop healthy eating habits.

It takes a lot of food to triple your size

Your toddler may actually be eating enough after all. At the age of one, children’s growth begins to slow. They are no longer growing at the incredibly rapid speed they were in the first 12 months of life. Inevitably, their nutritional needs will shift in order to adapt to their slower growth rate. The following toddler food tips will help you organize your dinner table and plan meals and snacks the whole family will enjoy.

Toddlers have strong opinions about their favourite foods

By the time a child is one, they tend to become a lot pickier than they once were. Rather than eating whatever ends up in front of them, they will be more prone to what looks like picky eating, refusing foods that they may have previously devoured. Rather than forcing new or disliked items on your child, just be sure to serve at least one item that they will happily eat with every meal. Your child chooses which foods to consume and how much.

Illness impacts appetite

Is your toddler feeling under the weather? Are they getting enough sleep? There are a lot of different factors that impact eating, and illness and fatigue are on the top of the list. Make sure that you have realistic expectations about the amount of food your young child is going to consume when they aren’t well. Kids need to be in charge of their bodies and decide how much food is best for them and during illness and fatigue it may not be very much.

Snack time is getting in the way of your toddler’s mealtime

Babies like tiny meals, so their feeding schedule is much different—and much more frequent than toddlers. Toddlers have the capacity to go much longer between meals so it may seem like your child’s appetite has changed. While you definitely want to avoid your kids getting too “hangry”, you also want to ensure that they are getting the majority of their nutritional intake from their meals, not snack time. Feeding them three meals and two to three healthy snacks at regularly scheduled times will help your little one to eat enough nutritious food when it is time to sit down to a meal.

Mealtime is about eating

They want to play, they want to wiggle, they want to climb the walls, but mealtime is about eating. Part of ensuring that kids eat sufficiently is creating a mealtime routine and structure that is solid and expected. This means that parents have clear expectations of their children and that their children fully understand these expectations. As a parent, you are in charge of creating a mealtime space and offering the food that is provided. Your child gets to choose what and how much they eat. They are in charge of their bodies but within the boundaries of your family’s mealtime structure.

Where toddlers eat impacts how much food they eat

Set up an appropriate space for eating. Creating a comfortable and toddler-friendly space significantly helps kids to focus on their food and to eat it without difficulty. Is your toddler’s chair high enough for them to easily reach their plate? Can they see what is on the table and how much food is on their own plate? Making sure that they can see, smell and experience the food in a comfortable way is so important to a lasting, enjoyable mealtime for anyone. For kids, it is even more significant.