1. Have realistic expectations of what a toddler needs to eat.  If your one year old is eating ½ of an egg, that is a full portion for him. Add to that ½ a piece of bread (not ½ of a sandwich) and you have a great meal! One ounce of chicken is a portion for children up to 6 years old!  Click here for age appropriate portion sizes.
  2. Encourage feeding practices that you would want your child to continue.  In other words, don’t feed her mindlessly in front of the TV, if you want her to learn to recognize feelings of hunger and fullness.  And don’t chase him around the house with a fork full of food, if you want him to learn to eat nicely at the table.
  3. A balanced diet needs to be looked at over a period of several days. Offer healthy choices and let your child choose what to eat.  Offer three meals and two snacks a day.  Let the snacks be just as healthy as the meals – fruit, cheese sticks, peanut butter (for children over age 2yrs.)  If your child doesn’t eat lunch, she will eat at snack time, or dinner time.  
  4. If your child does not eat good foods, then don’t feed him.  This one sounds really harsh, but we promise your child will not starve to death.  Why should your child eat anything healthy, when he knows that if he holds out long enough, you will give him chicken nuggets and French fries?  No matter how hard she tantrums, you will not let her play in traffic because it is dangerous.  Maintaining a diet of high-fat, high-sugar foods is dangerous as well.
  5. Try the “two-bite rule” with vegetables and new foods.  Tell your child he must have “two bites” before he leaves the table. And remember that it takes 5 or 6 “tries” to wake up a child’s taste buds. So encourage them to try foods times over the period of several weeks.
  6. Use a reward system if you need to.Never underestimate the power of stickers to get your child to do something.  Let your child accumulate stickers and earn a reward. Rewards should not be lavish and should not include junk food. But you could let your child design the family menu for one night.
  7. Model healthy eating.Toddlers love eating off of mom and dad’s plate.  Make sure there is good healthy food on your plate.
  8. Let children help with food preparation. Take them shopping with you. Let them help chop and saute.  If you are really ambitious, plant a small vegetable garden.  Children are more likely to eat a food if they are involved in the preparation.