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Toddler Eating

Janel F.
Registered Dietitian
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Does mealtime make your toddler run in the opposite direction? If so, today's Q&A is most definitely for you. Kick your little one's constant snacking to the curb with the help of Tinyhood Registered Dietitian, Janel Funk.

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Food aversions


My son is 2.5 years old and is a very picky eater. He has some sensory issues when it comes to food, and it’s hard to get anything in him. Any suggestions on getting him to try, and like, new foods?


Hi Tehila,

You want to be sure not to coax, bribe, encourage, or make a game out of eating, especially for a child who is hesitant to try new foods. I recommend at every meal, including something new on his plate alongside other familiar foods. So for example if he eats yogurt, a banana, and crackers every day at lunch, also provide a few slices of avocado or cheese or another new food. If he tries it, great! But if not, at least he was exposed to it in a "familiar environment" with foods he feels comfortable with.

There's a lot of play you can do with kids who have sensory issues with food, such as doing bins of dry rice, pasta or beans to let him dig through and play in. Playing with play dough, shaving cream, water tables, etc. While you won't see the direct cause and effect of letting your kid play with dry beans and getting him to eat cooked beans, it helps for sensory development.

I recommend speaking to your pediatrician about meeting with a feeding therapist who can work with you in person on introducing new foods keeping any sensory issues in mind. Now is a great time to start, as 2 year olds generally tend to get even more selective with eating at this age, so you want to work on it before it gets worse!


Perfect! Sounds like a plan. Thank you :)


Best Snacks for 3 and 5 Year Old


Hi there! I am planning a trip and would like to bring individually packed snacks for my 3 year old and 5 year old. They have no allergies, but I am very conscious of how much sugar they eat. Do you have any recommendations for healthy, on-the-go snacks?


How exciting! If you're traveling with a cooler (or even a lunch box with a frozen water bottle inside) you can pack things like yogurt pouches and string cheese, which need to be refrigerated but are nutritious portable snacks. One of my favorite on-the-go snacks are freeze dried strawberry slices - the only ingredient is strawberries! Trader Joes has them, as well as other major grocery stores. My favorite bar for little ones AND adults is Larabar, as the only ingredients are dried fruit and nuts. Don't let the amount of sugar scare you as none of it is from added sugar but rather all naturally occurring from fruit (so it's also loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!). A good whole grain cereal, like the O's from Whole Foods have no added sugar, and of course fresh fruit or cut up veggies are always an option. You didn't mention if you're driving or flying - if driving, I recommend only having your kids eat snacks when you're stopped at a rest stop and can safely monitor them eating (especially if any of these are new-to-them snacks). When flying, I'm always cautious not to bring peanut products (like larabars) as you never know if your seatmate has an allergy.