How to make food fun for toddlers
Feeding toddlers can feel like a never-ending experiment with no clear recipe for success. Their favourite meal can turn to their worst overnight with no explanation. You cut their sandwich into cute little hearts, but they insist on star shapes instead. Toddlers are notorious for their pickiness, and mealtime can be a total headache. We’re just trying to keep them happy and full of good stuff, right?
Sure, we could give in to their every whim and offer cake instead of carrots. But we know that’s not the answer to raising healthy eaters. The key to making mealtime less of a battlefield is to add a little fun to the mix. Toddlers are all about adventure and play, and food can be just as exciting. By making food more playful and enjoyable, you might be surprised at what they’ll try.
Give the food funny names and use your adjectives
Food is a lot more appealing when it has a fun name. Instead of offering your little one broccoli, how about serving up some "tiny little trees" instead? And forget plain old oranges; make it an “oh-so-sweet orange” instead.
Plate it in an interesting way
Presentation is key when it comes to mealtime with toddlers. Try arranging food in interesting ways, like making a smiley face with veggies or using a divided plate with different colours of food. You can even add food colouring to make things more exciting - green Hulk eggs anyone? Use cookie cutters to create shapes out of toast or fruit - who wouldn’t want to eat a dinosaur-shaped sandwich?
Get them involved
Getting your toddler involved in meal preparation can also do wonders for their appetite. Let them help out and they’ll be more likely to try new foods. Plus, they’ll feel proud of themselves for being a part of the process. They’ll probably also snack on a selection of healthy foods while they’re helping you. And if you tell them to stop eating all the carrots, their mischievous minds will immediately make them want more.
Have a picnic meal
For a change of scenery, have a picnic-style meal. Even if it’s inside on a rainy day, spreading a blanket on the floor and offering a variety of healthy snacks can make mealtime feel more exciting. And don’t forget to invite their toys to the party.
It’s completely normal for kids to be picky about certain foods as they navigate the world of flavours and textures. Each child is unique in their preferences and tastes, and that’s just a part of growing up. As a kid, you probably didn’t like everything you were served either. It can take a toddler multiple attempts before they’ll even consider trying something new, so don’t give up if they initially refuse a meal you’re sure they’ll enjoy.
By making mealtime a fun and positive experience and avoiding pressure or negativity around food, you’re setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. So don’t stress too much about what they do or don’t eat, and keep the focus on exploration and enjoyment of food.
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