Although it can be frustrating if your toddler’s mealtimes seem to take forever, overall, eating slowly is much more healthy than eating too quickly. Many older children and adults develop digestive problems like constipation and bloating because they eat too quickly without chewing properly, so for your baby’s future health, it’s important that she learns to chew thoroughly and takes time to enjoy her food.
If your time is pressing, you might experiment with giving your child smaller meals so that she doesn’t feel too pressured, with healthy snacks in between to keep her going. Toddlers have small stomachs, and tend to manage better if they eat little and often rather than just having three big meals a day. Also, try to identify the signs that she’s getting full up or bored with her meal. If she starts to play with her food or slows down to the point that she’s barely eating, it may be time to end the meal.
Finally, make sure that your toddler isn’t distracted by things going on around her, for example toys on the table or the TV. If you can, eat with her, so that she can take cues from you.
Answered by: Ceri Morgan and Ann Souter, nutritional therapists, www.recipeforhealth.co.uk