The web can be awash with information around what you should feed a toddler. Of course, you would expect a lot of what you should feed a young child is just common sense and, like hugging your old child as often as you can, is just instinctive. So, rather than just point you to some recipe ideas for fussy toddlers on Mumsnet, we thought it would be interesting to speak to a Nursery Nurse to see what the experts think is the best food to feed those growing minds and bones.
We spoke to Nursery Nurse, Emma Dixon to get her view. Emma has been in childcare working at a Nursery since 2013 and manages a room of up-to 20 two to four year olds.
What works for breakfast?
“This totally depends on the child, their likes and dislikes — often it’s what ever they will eat! We find that porridge is great – for giving the children loads of energy and we can add stuff to sweeten it (like honey) as well as fruit which ensures they always get their five a day. Failing that wholemeal toast with honey or jam is a good option.”
What about snack-time?
“Fruit, fruit and more fruit. Introducing children to fresh fruit at this age sets an important precedent for the children as they get older and into adult-hood. Bananas work really well in the morning, before playtime. Bananas seem to be the most popular fruit for children between two and four.”
What about the fussy ones, how do you get them to eat?
“There’s no easy answer to this one. Some children are just fussy but we find that persistence often pays off. Children can be contrary and ‘no’ or ‘I don’t like that’ will be the automatic answer to a question. However, if we ask the same question the next day the response might be different. If all else fails toast is our go to ‘get the child to eat hack’. Children of this age are clearly very much influenced by their peer group so we find that good behaviour when it comes to eating is often rubbed off on their peers.”
What would be your ultimate piece of advice to a parent of a fussy eating toddler?
“Don’t be disheartened and keep trying! A bit like potty training you need to be persistent. Reinforce good behaviour with positive affirmations – ‘you finished your apple – such a good girl’. Also, if you have a really fussy child, try presenting the food in question in a different way. For instance, we once had a boy who didn’t like apples when they were presented to him in slices but loved the apple when we gave him a whole one – ‘a big boy apple’ he used to call it.”