My child wants to eat the same thing everyday, should I be allowing this?
Sounds like your toddler is going through what’s called a ‘food jag’. A food jag is when children want to eat the same food, made in the same way, every day or every meal.
The tricky thing with a food jag is that eventually your child will get sick of this food and not want it anymore, which poses a problem if they already have a very limited variety of foods they’ll eat.
Furthermore, if you’re child has some feeding difficulties and falls under ‘problem feeders’ category (see our page on picky eaters vs problem feeders click here), then this food may be lost permanently.
The best way to avoid a food jag, is to prevent it. Here are some ideas on how to prevent food jags:
- Avoid providing the same food everyday. Instead only offer one particular food every second day.
- If your child only has a very limited amount of foods they’ll eat, try changing up that one food in interesting ways so it doesn’t at least look the same.
|Alter the shape – cut it in funky ways, or use different cookie cutter shapes.|
Change colour – naturally colour your meals. Here’s how!
Purple/pink: try beetroot juice,
Green: add some spinach or kale,
Yellow: try turmeric.
|Alter taste – experiment using different herbs and spices or adding some stronger flavours like parmesan cheese or a sauce.|
Change Texture – grate, chop, dice to keep it interesting, or use different cooking methods e.g for eggs: fried, scrambled, boiled, poached, omelette.
My toddler won’t eat her vegetables and I’m nervous she’s not getting everything she needs.
Remember it may take lots of introductions for your toddler to try new things. Refer to our Learning to Eat New Foods & Fussiness click here
Be patient with the process, in the mean time, here are some tips:
- Offer the veggie alongside foods your toddler will eat
- Add veggies to sauces or mixed through foods they like e.g. mushrooms or grated carrot or zucchini in a bolognaise
- There are lots of different vegetables and each colour offers different nutrients to the body. Try offering different veggies from what you’ve been trying. Orange: sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, orange capsicum. Green: green beans, broccoli, spinach, kale, green capsicum, Brussel sprouts (cut) , asparagus. Purple: eggplant, purple sweet potatoes, beetroot. Whites: cauliflower, onion, potato, mushrooms. Red: capsicum, tomatoes.
My toddler takes SO long to eat meals. What should I do?
A few things can be going on here:
- Is your toddler distracted? Turn off the TV, remove toys from or around the table and make sure they’re sitting at the table
- Is your toddler hungry? Think about if they’ve been allowed to graze instead of having their set meal times? It may be that your child had an extra glass of milk or a snack too soon before the next meal and this is impacting on their appetite. Try to be firm and stick to your structured meal and snack times
- How big is their meal? Are you serving them an “adult sized” portion? Refer to the ‘What to feed your toddler’ for information on amount of daily serves for each food group
- Is your toddler able to handle the textures you’re offering? Are meats too tough or too large for them to chew? Or have they been on puree/semi solid foods too long and haven’t developed the capacity to chew. If so, gradually increase textures to develop these skills.
How much do I feed my toddler?
Refer to our ‘What to feed my 12-24 month’ for information on the nuts and bolts of what to offer to your toddler (aka the food groups) . But essentially it’s up to your toddler to determine WHETHER they eat and HOW MUCH. Your job is to provide them with healthy foods at meals, snacks and set times. Refer to ‘Feeding roles of parents and toddlers’ to refresh on division of responsibility. Children are really good at self regulating and eating towards their appetite, so don’t stress if your child’s intake fluctuates from day to day.