This is a challenging task for many parents! A simple guide is: parents provide the food for toddlers and toddlers decide what they will eat!
Many children refuse to try new foods – try not to force the issue as power struggles over food are not pleasant for parent or child.
Sometimes we may have unrealistic expectations about when, how and what children should eat. For example, we may want them to eat with the family – but sometimes toddlers are too tired by 6pm or later to be eating a big meal.
Keep the main goals in mind: we want our children to eat nutritious food when they are hungry; we want mealtimes to be a happy, social time for the family; and finally, we want them to eat safely – this means, sitting down, being supervised and not eating foods that are too hard for them so as to avoid choking.
For more specific guidelines about recommended dietary requirements for toddlers, go to www.parenting.sa.gov.au – Parent Easy Guide No.21 – Remember: small stomachs need small amounts of food, often!