They Don't Eat As Much As We Think They Should!
My toddler just picks at her food. Is this normal?
Ann Douglas answers:
Parents are often surprised by how little food toddlers actually require. A toddler-sized serving is typically only 1/4 to 1/3 the size of an adult serving. So if your toddler only manages to eat 1/4 of a piece of toast at breakfast plus a bit of milk and a few slices of apple, you might assume she's eaten next to nothing when, in fact, she's probably eaten exactly what her body needs.
Of course, some toddlers are downright picky eaters, turning their noses up at anything but a handful of foods that they've somehow deemed acceptable. It's best to avoid getting into food fights with a toddler (trust me, it's a battle that you are bound to lose) but, on the other hand, you don't want to fall into the trap of playing short-order cook for the next 18 years either. It's truly The Mother (or Father) of All Tightrope Acts! You can pick up some excellent strategies for avoiding these kinds of food struggles by reading Ellyn Satter's book Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense. You'll also find a lot of tips on feeding toddlers in the nutrition chapter in my book The Mother of All Toddler Books. Good luck!