Food & Recipes

Toddler Food Quirks

by Dawn Papandrea

Toddler Food Quirks

Handling Finicky Food Behavior

The dish on handling kids’ most common high-chair high jinks, from Ann Douglas, author of Mealtime Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler:

The Quirk: Control freak-outs
Why They Do It: Foods that don’t touch and sandwiches sliced just so appeal to their growing sense of order.
What To Do: If separating peas from carrots will prevent a meltdown, it’s worth the few extra seconds.

The Quirk: Veggiephobia
Why They Do It: Toddlers’ taste buds are sensitive, so bold flavors like brussels sprouts can be overpowering.
What To Do: Aim for textures and veggie types they do like. Dips and fun shapes can help, too.

The Quirk: Food flinging
Why They Do It: They may be full, bored, or both.
What To Do: Place only a bit of food on the tray at first; don’t expect them to sit for more than 30 minutes.

The Quirk: Meal mashing
Why They Do It: Exploring the feel of spaghetti or chicken nuggets teaches toddlers how they “work.”
What To Do: Let him experiment a bit, but praise examples of good table manners along the way.