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Research suggests toddlers are more likely to eat unfamiliar and disliked foods if they have watched others eat them first, especially parents.

Moreover, parent and child intake of foods/nutrients is generally correlated and most significantly parents’ consumption of fruit and vegetables is the strongest predictor of their child’s intake.

Show your little one your love of healthy food and how food can be delicious and fun with these creative toddler food ideas that will get your bub one step closer to being a little foodie!

1. Have a picnic

Picnic style dining with a range of different foods can be a great way to introduce variety into the diet of your child, often when food is laid out and they are left to their own devices, toddlers will try a greater variety of foods.

2. Communal-style family dining

Place food in the centre of the table and let toddlers make their own, try chicken burritos with a variety of toppings such as guacamole, tomato salsa, mixed bean salad, shredded cos lettuce and cheese.

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3. Create theme nights

Teach kids about certain cultures e.g. Japan and serve home-made sushi, teriyaki chicken tenderloins and quinoa fried rice.

4. Kid’s choice – meals

Purchase a healthy cookbook, let the kids pick their favourite recipe from the book and cook it together on a Sunday night – do this as a weekly tradition to involve your little one in the process.

5. Kid’s choice fresh ingredients

Have a vegetable or fruit picture book and let kids select a type of fruit/vegetable and then cook with it. For example, with apple – do baked apple with yoghurt for an afternoon snack or dessert, or select zucchini and try zucchini boats baked and stuffed with Rafferty’s Garden Moroccan Lamb. This will not only encourage toddlers to eat healthy foods and get excited by food, but also learn about fresh fruit and vegetables!

Remember, mealtime is a time to bond and nourish, not a time to stress. If your toddler has distaste for what you’ve dished up, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Repeated exposure to disliked food is the key to turning the tide on your toddlers’ liking of foods – persevere and have fun with food – you will turn your toddler into a healthy foodie in no time!

Does your toddler love their food? SHARE WITH US in the comments below. 

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • I think also not putting any pressure on your kids to eat “good” foods. There are no good or bad foods, just foods. If they aren’t eating vegies, exposure is your friend without any pressure. My son took 2 years of having tomatoes on his plate EVERY DAY before he ate them. He eats them fine now!

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  • These are all great ideas. Thanks for the tips

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  • All great ideas. I found my son’s tastes changed – one day he’d love something and the next week he wouldn’t. But we often mixed things up and involved him.

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  • I didn’t have any major issues with my kids and food. My grandsons however is extremely fussy. Most of his meals are cooked separately from his parents because he won’t eat what they’re eating. At the monent, he’s downing WeetBix for breakfast lunch and tea. He helps in the veggie patch, he helps with the cooking, he watches others eat. No way will he try new food

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  • I always great vegetables finely and add them any recipes. They never notice.

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  • My 5yr old used to eat everything but sadly she starts doing difficult about veggies at the moment.

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  • My tip is if you can grow vegetables, they love having their hands in the dirt and will not be able to resist to eat straight from the plant. Lay a plate of different things for them to try and you eat with them too saying how nice it tastes but don’t offer just leave it on the plate, they will ask to try it.

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  • My kids love picnic- even if its on our backyard.

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  • Great idea re theme night and teaching kids about different cultures.

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  • Great ideas. My daughter has recently taken a liking to smoothies. She chooses all the fruit to go in it and always comes back for seconds. From not liking fruit to loving it im wondering what has happened to my little girl.

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  • Great ideas! My toddler is going through the “doesn’t want to eat his vegetables stage” so these are very useful.

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  • I like the advice, thank you.

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  • Yes my daughter loves food. Together we chose seeds and she helps me take care of our veggie garden

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  • Great tips. I love in particular the idea of the theme nights!

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  • We offer the same foods to all children at meal times, if the toddler doesn’t eat it, we don’t make a huge fuss, but the same things will continue to be offered at meal times. From my experience I have found that eventually they will try things, even if it is the 99th time out of 100

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