Feeding Your 2-Year Old
Children Card 3
MN WIC Program
- Feeding Your One Year Old
- Feeding Your 1 ½-Year Old
- Feeding Your 2-Year Old
- Feeding Your 3-Year Old
- Feeding Your 4--Year Old
- How Do I Get My Child to Eat?
- MyPlate for Children
- Healthy Weight
- Helping Your Child Grow
- Get Moving - Activity for 1 to 2-Year Olds
- Keep Moving - Activity for 3 to 5-Year-Olds
Feeding your 2-year-old is not always easy.
Toddlers may refuse to eat new foods. Your child may need to take time to look at a new food and touch, smell, feel and taste it. Sometimes she will have to be offered a new food as many as 7 to 10 times before she will accept it. Allow time for her to get used to new foods. If she won’t eat a new food the first time it is served, offer it again. Serve it with another food she likes.
Some days your child won’t eat much. That’s OK. Other days she may eat a lot. It all works out if you are serving good healthy foods.
What can you do?
- Offer a variety of healthy foods from all of the food groups.
- Foods like chips, cake, cookies, candy, pop and Kool-Aid are not the right kinds of foods for your toddler daily.
- Have 3 meals and 2-3 planned snacks every day. Toddlers have small stomachs. They need to eat every 2 to 3 hours.
- Make mealtime pleasant. Turn off the TV.
- Eat with your child. Model good eating habits. Your child learns by watching you.
- Get your child off the bottle if he’s still drinking from one. This can really help your child eat better. Use a cup without a lid.
- Too much milk and juice can cause your child to fill up and not eat enough solid foods. Children at this age only need 2 cups of milk a day. Limit juice to no more than 4 ounces daily.
Your child’s job is to decide what and how much to eat. Let your child eat as much or as little as he wants.
Serve milk and juices with meals and snacks.
Offer water between meals and when she is thirsty. Too much milk and juice can cause your child to fill up and not eat enough of the other good solid foods you offer.
Your child will insist on feeding herself!
Your child will be able to hold a glass and use a spoon on her own. Give her a regular glass or cup rather than a sippy cup to help her get better at drinking without a straw-like opening. But remember, toddlers are messy and spill a lot! Just put a little bit in the cup or glass until your child passes this stage. Keep a towel handy.
- Eat meals and snacks at about the same time every day. Children like to know what to expect.
- Eat with your child at mealtime. Turn the TV off and talk.
- Put a small amount of food on your child’s plate. It’s easier to eat a small amount. Let your child ask for seconds if she wants more.
- Let your child choose what and how much to eat from what you offer.
- Make foods kid-friendly. Children like finger foods and foods cut in small pieces. They like bright colors, fun shapes and mild flavors.
- Be patient and let her eat her own way. Let her look, feel, mash and smell the foods she eats. This is all part of learning.
- Don’t get into fights about food. Don’t argue with a child who doesn’t want to eat. Your child may not be hungry or may be tired. Remember, there is a snack in a few hours for her to eat again.
- Food jags are when a child wants the same food over and over again. If it is a healthy food, don’t worry. This stage will pass.
- Give praise that makes your child feel successful at eating.
Get in the healthy teeth habit.
Brush your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and a pea-size dab of toothpaste. Make sure brushing is supervised so that she doesn’t swallow too much fluoridated toothpaste.