In the book Touchpoints, Dr. Brazelton wrote a minimal daily diet for toddlers. During toddlerhood, many toddlers will be very finicky when it comes to food. One day they may like apple and the next day refuse to eat it. I know this is true of my son. He was loving oatmeal and then one day out of the blue he just decided that he was not longer going to eat oatmeal. This is frustrating for moms and dads when they feel like they are running out of options to feed their toddler. Parents might also worry that they are not getting their child to eat enough nutritious food. This minimal daily diet is what toddlers should at least eat if they refuse everything else. This has been my saving grace on days when my son hardly eats anything and refuses almost everything.
The minimal daily diet for toddlers includes:
1. One pint of milk (sixteen ounces) or its equivalent in cheese, yogurt, or ice cream
2. Two ounces of iron-containing protein (meat or eggs), or cereals fortified with iron
3. One ounce of orange juice or fresh fruit
4. One multivitamin, which I use to cover for uneaten vegetables
This does not mean we should allow our children to be picky eaters! I first offer the food my son hates the most. I expect him to take at least one bite of it. I keep offering him the food he least likes until he stops eating it. Then, I move on to a food that he will eat without complaint (usually). I try to hide the food he likes, keeping it out of sight. If my son can see the food that he likes while I am offering him the food he does not like, he will stop eating the least desirable food. I also offer him the food he refused to eat at snack time or when he signs that he is hungry to me. He will usually eat the less desirable food if he is plenty hungry. Even still, I find that I have problems getting him to eat. On those days, I make sure we have met the minimal daily diet for toddlers.
Resource: Touchpoints p. 141