You’re not alone if you are struggling with feeding time or wondering if your toddler is getting enough food. It’s extremely important to keep in mind that every toddler is different and the amounts they eat will vary. Also don’t be overly concerned if your toddler doesn't consume “enough” at one meal because they will most likely make up for it at another mealtime. After all, children have finely tuned mechanisms for determining how much they need to eat. As a result a child might ask for more food during a period of growth, and maybe less at other intervals. Unfortunately, when parents restrict food or force-feed their children, it interferes with these internal regulators, which can lead to the development of negative feeding relationships and eating problems.
Therefore, to ensure a healthy feeding relationship we as parents should choose and prepare regular meals and snacks, make eating times pleasant, and let children grow up to get the bodies that are right for them. We need to trust our children to decide how much and whether to eat. Keep in mind that children eat poorly when parents criticize, manage, or intrude on eating!
So what’s the bottom line? Offer your child a wide variety of foods for them to experience and let them take it from there. Children are more comfortable with routines and predictability, so set regular snack and mealtimes and they won’t have to worry about being hungry or getting fed. If your child is still hungry and asking for more, you can and should serve more. Also, never force your child to clean his or her plate. Once they are no longer hungry, they should be allowed to stop eating. Lastly, don’t forget that it’s not just the quantity of food that’s important, but the quality and presence of a balanced diet!
Keep these strategies in mind to help minimize the food fight in your household!