Re: Mealtimes with my toddler are the worst part of the day because he never seems to like what we give him. How can we still make sure he’s eating enough?
Most toddlers do get proper nutrition when their parents serve a variety of foods -- even if it doesn’t always seem that way. And his pediatrician monitors his weight to be sure he’s getting enough. But, unlike adults who often eat out of habit or boredom, toddlers only tend to eat when they’re truly hungry.
If your goal is to have your toddler eat more at mealtimes, make sure he's coming to the table with an empty stomach. That will probably mean cutting out any afternoon snack -- even if it’s just a glass of milk or some crackers, which may be more filling to him than you think.
Another idea is to get him involved in the process of choosing and preparing foods for upcoming meals, in both the supermarket and the kitchen. If he feels like he participated in getting the food ready, he’ll be more invested in the next step: eating it.
New foods are scary to toddlers, who've only experienced limited tastes and flavors in their lifetime. So manage your expectations when introducing a food he’s never seen before; it may take inspecting it on his plate over the course of several meals before he’ll actually put it in his mouth -- so don’t force it. And, in the meantime, instead of catering to your child’s unhealthy wishes, be sure you always offer a selection of healthy choices so that those foods become most familiar to him.
Finally, and most importantly, eat healthy yourself. Not only will this benefit your toddler as he follows your lead by modeling his own healthy eating habits after yours, but it will also benefit you.