Do you have a stubborn, picky eater? When my son turned 18 months, he suddenly rejected all new foods I introduced and even started rejecting some he previously liked. He even stopped liking milk. Although he is my 4th child, my older girls were never that picky or stubborn about food choices so I had not faced this challenge before. I was at my wits end trying to keep this cute little guy healthy. After lots of research and trial and error, I found a few things that are keeping him growing, giving him nutrients that he will eat, and getting us calmly through this picky toddler/pre-schooler stage. Here’s our favorites! (This post contains Amazon.com affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more info.)
1. Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood. This is a miracle product for us. It has relieved many mom anxiety moments about how to get fruits and veggies into my stubborn little guy. He would much rather drink his fruits and veggies than eat them, and that’s ok! It is made with 32 fruits and veggies, a little protein and a few vitamins, with one serving being equal to 3 servings of fruits and veggies. We’ve discovered that a full scoop can bring on diarrhea, so we give him about 2/3-3/4 of a scoop. I love that it mixes pretty easily. Just give it a few quick stirs and you’re good to go. I have found the best price on this to be on Amazon.com.
2. Ella’s Kitchen Nibbly Fingers and Gerber Graduates Cereal Bars. We use these as part of our lunch rotation or for an occasional snack. Ella’s Kitchen Nibbly Fingers are organic whole grain oat bars. There’s three flavors that I know of…mangoes & carrots, bananas & raisins, and my toddler’s favorite, apples & strawberries. Besides the whole grain oats, it has raisins, dried apples, dried pears, sunflower oil, palm oil, and strawberries. I buy these at Walmart or Target. Gerber Graduates Cereal Bars are made with whole grains and have 9 vitamins and minerals.
3. Danimals Smoothie yogurt drinks. My toddler likes to put a straw in it and drink them. This is a good source of protein and calcium. I buy these at Walmart, Target, or Smith’s Food & Drug (Kroger chain).
4. Lil’ Critters Calcium + Vitamin D3, Flintstones Complete Multivitamin (or other brand), and Digestive Advantage Probiotic Gummies. The calcium supplement along with other dairy products like yogurt and cheese offset my toddlers aversion to milk. There is 200 mg of calcium and 220 IU Vitamin D3 in one dose of Lil’ Critters Calcium (2 gummies). I usually buy it at Costco but Amazon.com also carries it. We also use a children’s multivitamin. My kids love the Flintstones Complete but we have also used Kirkland Children’s Multivitamins from Costco. I started him on the Digestive Advantage around 2 years old. You can also get this at Costco. The bottle says it’s not for children under 3 due to choking but we did not have that problem. There are many benefits to probiotics, including helping with tummy troubles and eczema. Great info can be found at Parents.com and Parenting.com
5. Dried fruits like Craisins, raisins, dried apples, and dried plums. My toddler’s favorite fruits are dried. He does not like mushy, slimy food right now, so dried it is! Find what type of fruit and veggies your toddler likes and go with it.
6. Breakfast foods have never been a problem for my toddler so sometimes we rely on them for lunch or dinner for him as well. He especially loves french toast, pancakes, and waffles.
7. A trick to get my toddler to drink water: We flavor it with a tiny amount of different kinds of juice–apple, peach, mango, etc. About 2-3 tsp in his sippy cup and the rest is water. He drinks straight water too but if we are home and he’s feeling picky, we flavor it just a little.
My toddler is now 3 years old, still picky, but it’s getting better over time. A friend of mine told me that her son was the same way until he was five or six and they could negotiate a little better about food choices and expectations. That helped me feel a lot better. We keep offering him new foods and occasionally he surprises us by asking for what is on our plate if we haven’t offered it to him. Until he embraces more food options, the above solutions have given me peace of mind that I can fill in the gaps in his diet when he pushes the good stuff away. An article by Dr. Sears was a great help to me when I was trying to figure out what to do with my picky eater. Ask Dr. Sears – Picky Eaters I also really like this article at raisehealthyeaters.com If you have other tips on feeding your picky eater, please comment and let me know! I would love to hear more ideas.
Photo Credit: Alice Daer @flickr.com