The 5 best foods for teething toddlers that they’ll actually eat
Toddler appetites are fickle things.
How can one tiny human eat half a mandarin and a few bites of a sandwich one day, then the next inhale a yoghurt, banana, two Weet-Bix, an epic portion of pasta and be asking for more broccoli? It’s one of life’s great – but very real – mysteries.
Growth and development can have an impact on toddler appetites.
Another time food aversion can be explained is when toddlers are teething, often going off food, especially anything that is tough to chew.
According to the Australian Dental Association, you can expect your baby’s first teeth to erupt from six months, with the full set of 20 primary teeth showing up by age 3.
Sanitarium senior nutritionist Stephanie Polson says being open to changes in your toddler’s food choices is key to getting through this sometimes rocky period.
“Teething can lead to toddlers not wanting to eat particular foods, even their favourite foods – potentially resulting in a decrease in overall food intake,” says Ms Polson.
“You may notice that your little one isn’t eating their usual amount of food at each meal, or even that they’re skipping entire meals.”
BEST FOODS FOR TEETHING TODDLERS
With calcium and protein for strong bones and teeth, yoghurt and its easy-to-swallow texture is a solid choice.
Try adding some smooth peanut butter to provide a more nutrient dense snack or meal.
- Scrambled tofu or eggs
Tofu is a nutrition powerhouse high in protein and also contains iron and calcium. Silken or soft varieties of tofu can be scrambled and cooked just like eggs. Scrambling helps with softness and adding flavourings such as garlic powder will up the polyphenol content.
Science lesson: Polyphenols have antioxidant properties that help keep you healthy and protect against various diseases.
- Weet-Bix Little Kids Essentials and milk
Quick and convenient, Weet-Bix Little Kids Essentials offer a tailored blend of nine essential vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc and calcium, is high fibre and low in sugar. Either make them with cold milk to soothe, or add additional warm milk to make a mushier consistency.
- Pureed vegetables in white sauce
Remember when you first started weaning? Go back to basics. A mix of vegetables like cauliflower, pumpkin and zucchini, with white sauce made of margarine, milk and flour can help kids still get some daily vegetables at a tricky time.
As a guide, one serve of vegetables is equivalent to half a cup of cooked green or orange vegetables.
To turn a smoothie from a snack into a meal when your toddler refuses to eat. To do this aim to have a mix of wholegrains (Weet-Bix Little Kids Essentials, other wholegrain cereals, oats), fruit (banana, berries), dairy or daity alternatives (milk, yoghurt) as well as nuts and seeds (avocado, chia seeds, nut butters).
Challenge yourself to see if you can get veggies in there too. Florettes of cauliflower are the ideal veggies for “hiding” or use veggies to create fun colours like a green dinosaur smoothie with added spinach and avocado.
TIPS TO SOOTHE TEETHING TODDLERS
Try different foods in different ways: For example, make foods smooth and cool like yoghurt with refrigerated fruit puree, or Weet-Bix Little Kids Essentials and cold milk. Otherwise, make warm foods mushier.
Stay consistent: Keep offering food and your toddler will eat again when the pain is gone. With mealtimes and snacks, offering some cold and soft foods to help relieve sore gums.
Keep up fluids: As long as your toddler is drinking fluids, the reduced appetite for a short period is not a concern. Watch their nappy or toilet habits for signs of dehydration.
Pack more into food: Add fruit puree or a nut butter to full fat plain yoghurt or Weet-Bix Little Kids Essentials so it’s a more nutrient dense snack or meal. Make each mouthful count!
Give extra cuddles: A hug from mum or dad is just the recipe for upset kids.