On a day-to-day basis, some of the signs your toddler has eaten enough include:
- Spending a long time chewing a mouthful of food.
- Holding food in their mouth for long periods, without chewing.
- Playing with the food on their plate.
- Trying to leave their chair.
- Saying ‘no’ and talking about doing another activity.
When this happens, give them permission to leave the table and ask them to bring their plate to the sink. Do not change a feeding routine by keeping back food in order to make your toddler hungrier. Keep consistent, and offer the next meal or snack at the usual time. It’s normal for toddlers to go through periods of varying food intake. Try not to concentrate on the amount of food eaten, or not eaten, at every single meal. Instead, look at the big picture of your toddler’s health.
PROVIDING HEALTHY ENCOURAGEMENT!
You are providing your toddler’s meals and snacks. You decide on the what, when and where of eating. Your job is to prepare healthy food and give it to your toddler on schedule in a relaxed way. When you’ve done that, focus on your own meal, not theirs. Set a good example by calmly eating your own food. Your toddler’s job is to decide whether and how much they will eat. If they are healthy and have regular and relaxed mealtimes, they should be eating enough. If they are eating very little at meals, check are they:
- Drinking too much shortly before eating?
- Eating outside of planned meals and snacks?
- Feeling relaxed at the table?
- Getting enough sleep?