How can I make sure my picky toddler is getting enough nutrients? Picky Eating

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Toddler girl eating strawberries
iStock/lisegagne
Picky toddlers don't seem to get enough variety in their diet, but there are tips and tricks to make sure they're getting all the nutrients they need.

Provide Variety

"Even if your toddler doesn't eat everything on his plate, offering him choices is a step in the right direction. Encourage more nutrient-dense foods like avocado, beans, salmon, milk, blueberries, broccoli, oatmeal, and yogurt while limiting non-nutritive items like juice and crackers. Supplementing a healthy diet with a liquid daily multivitamin is an option to help your child receive adequate micronutrients. If you have specific concerns, talk with your child's pediatrician." -- Jessica...

"Even if your toddler doesn't eat everything on his plate, offering him choices is a step in the right direction. Encourage more nutrient-dense foods like avocado, beans, salmon, milk, blueberries, broccoli, oatmeal, and yogurt while limiting non-nutritive items like juice and crackers. Supplementing a healthy diet with a liquid daily multivitamin is an option to help your child receive adequate micronutrients. If you have specific concerns, talk with your child's pediatrician." -- Jessica McGee, MS, RD, clinical nutrition manager at Children's National Health System

Sneak in Some Good Stuff

"I no longer make pasta for my toddler without throwing in some chopped broccoli, peas, or asparagus. I also boost bread recipes with shredded carrots. It blends well with sweet flavors."

Lead by Example

"Repetition, patience, modeling, and knowing how to prepare foods to the best of their flavors are all good tools for us parents."

Use Creative Names for Food

"We use creative names like dinosaur trees (broccoli), moon beam meat (carrots), and my daughter's favorite, peas with points (green garbanzo beans)."

Give Your Child Control

"I let my daughter determine how much to put on her plate with the requirement that she must put some of everything on it. She loves fruit and veggies, and we don't have any arguments or control issues."

Dip Healthy Foods into Yummy Sauces

"My son dips almost anything into ketchup. And I got him to eat carrot sticks by giving him ranch dip at the same time. He watched me dip some in and then he followed. Salsa works too."

Play With Food

"Chop up some veggies and fruit and place them on the table. Give your child an empty plate, and tell him you're going to make faces with the food. You can make it a competition, take pictures, or anything else to make it exciting."

Swap in Whole Grain

"I've been using whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta and barley in soups. When I make meatloaf or meatballs, I'll sometimes add whole grain bread crumbs, oatmeal, or brown rice."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.