PediaSure® image of a mother and daughter preparing to bake together

STICK TO A SCHEDULE

Regular meal and snack times help establish a healthy family routine:

  • Offer meals and snacks 3 to 4 hours apart at the same time every day
  • Limit the duration of meals — about 20 to 30 minutes or 15 if your child is not eating
  • Avoid unscheduled snacking between meals
  • Provide only water between meals
  • Always feed your child in a high chair or at a table
  • Encourage your child to eat what the family is eating, even if it's a small amount, rather than cooking a separate meal for him

INVOLVE YOUR KID

Pick recipes, grocery-shop, and cook with your kid – he is more likely to eat the food he participated in preparing and you'll have help in the kitchen!


With a toddler:

  • Introduce names of ingredients at the grocery store
  • Add pre-measured ingredients to recipes
  • Hold down buttons on kitchen appliances to help out

With a preschooler:

  • Describe tastes and textures and discuss the meal
  • Measure and weigh ingredients
  • Stir ingredients

BE PORTION SAVVY

Start with small portions and let him ask for more. When introducing new foods, give your kid a choice about which new food he is going to try and make sure to couple it with a favourite.

  • Serve age-appropriate foods and portions
  • Introduce new foods one at a time
  • Teach eating to fullness by serving small portions repeatedly and offering a new helping as soon as the previous one is consumed

MAKE MEALTIME FUN

Play with foods—serve a sandwich in the shape of a heart or use food to make fun faces or animals on your child's plate.

  • Encourage independent feeding and tolerate age-appropriate messiness
  • Forget the “Clean Plate Club” and encourage your child to take a bite of everything on his plate. The more often he tries it, the more likely he will be to eat it willingly

BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL

Kids will often follow your lead and are more likely to enjoy a variety of foods if you do.

  • Feed your child with the family so other family members can act as role models
  • Praise self-feeding skills, but maintain a neutral attitude about your child's food intake
  • Never pressure your child to eat
  • Try to serve food without emotion
  • Don't beg, plead, or bargain with your child to try something
  • Discourage disruptive behaviours and distractions such as toys, books, tablets, or TV during meals
  • If a food is rejected by your child, don’t get hung up on it and try again another day
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