At mealtime, serve at least one food that you know your little one loves. That way, if your child is having a "no" kind of day and refuses to eat what you've prepared, you can be reasonably assured that at least one nutritious food will get eaten.
Let your child decide how much to eat. Toddlers and preschoolers may not eat as much as they did when they were younger. Their growth rate has slowed down so they may need fewer calories. And their day is filled with so many other fun things, eating may not be top of mind! Some parents forget that young children eat smaller portions than their older brothers and sisters.
Try, try again... when you're introducing new foods. Some children have to see a new food up to 10 times before they feel brave enough to try it. Be sure that they see you enjoying the food, since many kids want to be like their parents.
Pack a picnic if you're going to be on the go at mealtime. Include foods from at least three of the food groups. For example, pick your favorite bread (Grain Products Group), sandwiches filled with meat (Meat and Alternatives Group) or cheese (Milk Products Group), carrot sticks, orange sections or banana slices (Vegetables and Fruit Group).
Don't coax or beg your child to eat. Eating (or not eating) is one of the few things that young kids have control over. The more you push, the more your child may push back by refusing to eat. Simply offer foods at meals and snack times.
Decide what to serve, and stick with your decision, even if your child begs for something else. If you start making other foods on demand, your child might expect you to be a short order cook at every meal.
Create a safe eating environment to minimize chances of choking. Make sure your child sits while eating and eats only when an adult is present. Cut foods into small, strip-shaped pieces before serving.