top of page

Preschooler 2-3 years

Eating Cereal

Parent provides, Child decides

It's important for you to take leadership in feeding your preschooler.  You decide what foods come into the house, and you decide what gets put on the table for mealtimes.

It's also important for your child to take leadership for their own body. They decide what to eat from the things you serve.  They also decide how much to eat.  

Do your job and let your child do theirs.  Feeding your child this way minimizes feeding problems like picky eating, overeating, undereating and mealtime battles.  Learn more below.

Feeding tips for preschoolers

mealtime_c4.jpg
Have set meal and snack times

Preschoolers can wait to eat with the family.

Don’t let your child graze on snacks all day.

Grazing leads to picky eating and poor nutrition.

Sit down and eat with your child at breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Have 1-2 sit down snacks at set times in between. 

Try and keep meal times consistent.

mealtime_b5.jpg
Let your child decide how much to eat
  • It’s normal for a preschool to eat a lot one day and nothing the next. 

  • Let your child decide how much to eat at meals.

  • Let your child get down when he’s done. 

  • Then say no to snacking after the meal. 

  • You’ve done your job by providing food and setting boundaries.

  • Don't pressure your child to eat, it's best to let him decide how much and what to eat. 

mealtime_e3.jpg
Say no to grazing

 Having planned sit down snacks at the same time every day is okay.  Grazing all day is not okay.  If you hand out snacks all day, every time your child asks, he will not be hungry for healthy foods at mealtime.  If you have trouble with your child eating well, make sure he is not grazing.  For reference, a child this age should be offered a meal or snack about every 3-4 hours.  Water should be offered all day, but no juice or milk between meals.

Glasses of Water
Only allow water between meals
  • Do not let your child carry a sippy cup of milk or juice around the house.  This limits her appetite for nutritious foods at mealtime and can cause tooth decay.

Drinking Milk
Limit soda and juice
  • Only keep water and milk on hand.  Juice and soda have too much sugar for your preschooler, save them for special occasions.  Juice and soda can cause cavities.  Never let your child sip on juice or soda all day.

Image by engin akyurt
Switch to lowfat milk
  • At 2 years, your baby is ready for lower fat milk.  Choose 1% or 2% fat instead of whole milk.

Image by Ben Libby
Don't buy special foods for kids
  • Feed your child the same foods you eat.  Don’t buy kid yogurt or chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs.  These foods have too much added sugar and salt.  Kids can eat everything adults eat, even spicy foods.  If you buy separate foods for your child, you can expect to have a picky eater who refuses to eat what you eat.  Prevent that problem by offering your child the same foods you enjoy eating.

6a00e54fae153788330120a6971779970b-800wi
Prevent your child from choking
  • Always make your child sit down while eating.  Avoid giving your child hard round foods. Cut hot dogs or grapes into quarters lengthwise. Cook veggies and meats until soft and cut into ¼-½ inch pieces. Spread peanut butter thin on bread.  Chop nuts into small pieces.

MORE RESOURCES AVAILABLE 

xpb_nut_set.jpg.pagespeed.ic.cZxiDkFubX.

Ellyn Satter Handouts

A binder of nutrition handouts (cover shown at right) is in every Family Advocate's office.  Applicable handouts for this age group:

  • Understand your toddler

  • How to feed your toddler

  • Child-friendly feeding tips

  • Understand your preschooler

  • How to feed your preschooler

  • How to handle the picky eater

  • What kind of parent will you be?

IMG_20200514_162710318.jpg

InJoy videos

 

The following 10 minute videos are in the "EHS training and digital resource" folder in google drive on every Family Advocate's Surface Pro: 

  • birth - 6 months

    • (breastfeeding, bottle feeding, assessing readiness for solids)

  • 7-12 months

    • (introducing solid foods, first foods, safe self-feeding)

  • 1 year olds

    • (food variety, forming healthy habits, having mealtime fun)

  • 2 year olds

    • (healthy food choices, avoiding conflicts, active families

bottom of page