An Easy Approach to Feeding Fussy Toddlers

(This article titled Want an Easy Fix for Feeding Fussy Toddlers? Read this! appeared first At Grandma's Place.)

" 'M hun'ry! Nannie.....'m hun'ry!"
It doesn't matter how well-fed my small grandsons are, they always seem to be hungry, or so they say. 
But  even more aggravating... they've become picky eaters, all of a sudden. So, how can I feed them? They'll devour a meal one day but refuse to touch it another; even foods that I thought were their favourite! And how can I encourage them to try healthy alternatives? They won't even look at anything different. 
Mmmmm..... feeding fussy eaters is my constant frustration at the moment and I'm not alone; I know of many mothers (and grandmothers, too) with similar concerns.
Well, yes, I know there are some wonderful and imaginative recipe books to inspire mothers and encourage those fussy little eaters.
But, I've found a quick and easy way to handle the 'feeding fussy toddlers dilemma'. It doesn't involve  time-consuming meal preparation or buying truckloads of special ingredients. It's certainly worked for me, and it's so easy!

A mealtime platter... one for each child

I've found that, if I cut up a wide variety of bite-sized foods and arrange them on a platter, they will happily  pick through and graze from the smorgasbord of foods. Truly! It works. They love to choose their own food to eat and I give them lots of varieties in small doses.

Here's why I like this idea
  • My toddlers will eat, without having to push them to try... that's a big plus!
  • It's quick and easy
  • Not expensive
  • It allows you to slip in some new foods for them to try with little drama
  • You can easily use up leftovers
How to prepare a toddler platter
  • Use a special tray or board to make it look fun and special.(I found some individual sized bamboo ones  but you could use small  wooden trays, firm vinyl placemats or even woven table mats covered with banana leaves.)
  • Cut up everything into bite-sized pieces 
  • Use a variety of flavours, colours and textures to make an interesting presentation.
  • Include hot and cold foods as well as sweet and savoury.
  • Include yoghurts or sauces in small dishes or add a dollop to the platter. (They love to use their fingers and I'm happy for them to try, if they'll eat it.)

Food suggestions
  • cheese cubes -sausage rolls, sliced baby tomatoes- fish fingers cut into chunks- sliced chicken tenders- chips- ravioli
  • diced avocado- dutch carrots- berries- sliced pear and apple- pomegranate- watermelon- dried cranberries or sultanas- trail mix- yoghurt coated sultanas or goji berries 
  • corn chips- popcorn- pretzels- soy crisps- rice crackers- vege chips- sesame seeds- bread sticks or slices of garlic bread or croissant
  • yoghurt- cheese sticks- dip- salsa

Other ideas to consider for meal platters
  • Add even more interest to your mealtime by eating your platter meals in different places
  • Spread a blanket outside under a tree
  • Go out on your decking or verandah
  • Build a cardboard fort and eat there.
  • Pitch a tent or shade cover either outdoors or indoors
  • Set up a trail of blocks, toys or stepping stones that lead to your meal platters

I've used meal platters for both lunchtime and evening meals and the kids love it. It's not a struggle to get them to eat. I can relax and enjoy my own platter and I've even found that the kids will try some unfamiliar foods without any prompting. If they don't eat some of the items on their platter, it's not a big deal since the quantities of each item on the platter are small. But altogether, it's surprising how filling an attractive assortment of foods on a platter can be. Try it yourself and I'm sure you'll enjoy it- it's easy and hassle free!


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