I have an 18 month old who barely eats dinner. I try making her like 3 different things from, say buttered noodles to chicken fingers to pb&j, I also toss in some different fruits, since veggies are not a favorite. I'm just getting frustrated on what to do sometimes she's a really good eater and I feel like a bad mother. I could really use some guidance. Thanks.
I struggle with this as well and I know it's frustrating.
I give my kids 2 different options for breakfast and lunch and I make one dinner for the family. I make sure to put at least one item on the kid's plates that I KNOW they like (grapes, cheese, cracker, etc) but the rest is not negotiable. I'm not making separate meals for them, I'm not a short order cook. If they don't want to eat the meal then they don't get anything else. You have to stick to this or it will just get worse.
-They do not eat between meals. Ever. If it's not mealtime and we are out running errands, I don't bring snacks with us unless it will be their scheduled snack time. It's ok for them to be a little hungry for their next meal.
-all of their meals (snack included) are 4 hours apart.
-we give them their veggies first. And they usually eat them! But once something else is on their plate, the veggies get ignored. So they get "courses": Veggie first, then protein, then carb, then fruit. If they eat well, I give them a small dessert like a vanilla wafer or a bit of ice cream. If they don't, then we try again next meal.
-if they don't eat it how you cooked it this time, try cooking it differently next time. Example: Mash the cauliflower instead of steaming it. It's weird but the texture is sometimes the issue rather than the taste.
-let them use silverware. My son hates having dirty hands so he will eat more if I let him use a fork. It's messy, but it gets the job done!
-Don't take it personally. They're not not eating because you did something wrong. If they're not eating, they're not hungry. This was hard for me to figure out but it's ok!!