How do I encourage my toddler to try new foods? When he was a baby I used an infant feeder instead of spoon-feeding him. I tried different meals but he didn’t like them. Now I can’t get him to eat any real food – just processed snacks, like graham crackers. He eats lunch at preschool, but when I prepare the same foods that are served there, he refuses them.
Rachel, what you have here is a case of a toddler who knows how to worry his mum! And he’s doing a good job of it. The fact that he eats at preschool tells me that he’s willing to eat nourishing foods, just not at home. I suspect that in getting his early foods from a feeder, he missed some opportunities to explore new foods. Most 2½-year-olds know exactly how to get what they want from mum and will make a fuss if they don’t.
Talk to the preschool cook and find out what foods he likes best for lunch. Then make them at home but don’t offer any alternatives. When he knows that’s all that is being served, he will start to make some attempts at eating at home, too. Don’t show concern if he refuses to eat – remember, he’s eating a large meal at preschool – but offer healthy, unprocessed snacks. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can change this situation around when your son knows you’re serious. By the way, graham crackers are a great snack food. They’re low in fat and sugar and much healthier than cookies.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.