Making Meal Time Fun with Toddlers


From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN

The previous article discussed how it is important it is to offer toddlers a wide variety of foods from an early age, and to have them eating (in a safe form) the same foods we are eating.  But that can be easier said than done.  What are some easy ways to encourage toddlers to try new foods?  Try some of these:

  • Dips are your friends! Give you child a cracker, or pretzel rod, or banana, and let them dip away.  Offer them a variety of things to try to dip, not just ketchup or chocolate.  Don’t be afraid of bold tastes like salsa, mustards, different kinds of jellies, or even horseradish!
  • Don’t tell you child before they try something that they won’t like it. For example, the child reaches for a piece of red pepper, you hand to them while saying, “OK, you can try it, but you probably won’t like it.”  Your children’s food choices can be affected by what you tell them.  Don’t let your dislikes automatically become their dislikes.
  • Let your toddler make a few (healthy) choices at the grocery store. For example, in the produce section, ask them what they would like to try.  Then take it home, cut it up (into safely sized pieces) and let them dig in!  They will feel more motivated to eat a food they chose, or even better yet, helped prepare.

Stay positive and upbeat about your child’s eating.  Children will usually try almost anything if given time.  Be patient and positive and watch your child’s palate develop!

Stacey Seybold Hiller has practiced pediatric speech pathology for more than 18 years.  Both she and her husband felt they were ready for a career change, so they opened Dream Dinners in Indianapolis with a partner.  Now she can further her passion for healthy family meals around the table at home!