Guest Guru- Piera Jolly of JollyMom.com Shares Ideas for Getting Kids to Eat Healthily
Getting your toddler to eat healthy
My son, Lucas is 21 months old and I have had on and off food battles with him pretty much since he started solids. Sometimes he eats a lot…like more than his dad…and sometimes I can barely get a bite into him. One day, he loves his veggies and hates chicken. The other…well, you get the idea! I’m sure I am not the only mom who goes through these food battles so here are some tips I have picked up over time on how to get your toddler to eat healthy:
1. If your child is still a baby, then now is really the time to begin healthy eating habits. Feed your baby a variety of healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. Teach your children to eat healthy by showing them that you eat healthy too. Grab a piece of fruit or a veggie and enjoy it in front of them. Tell them how good it tastes. Offer them a bite.
3. Pretend you are a sales person and “sell” healthy food to your kids. For example, tell your child that when they finish their lunch or dinner you have a delicious treat for them. Serve them a piece of fruit.
4. Keep offering rejected foods to your child. Set it on their plate or tray along with a food your child does like. If they reject it, do not stress out and definitely do not react to it. However, if your child does take a bite, then give him/her a lot of praise.
5. Hide fruits and vegetables into other foods. Grate carrots or other veggies into a pasta sauce. Grate apples into mealoaf.
6. Be creative with the foods you serve. Think outside of how you would normally eat a certain food. My son hated creamed spinach, but loves spinach nuggets.
7. Don’t assume your child won’t like a certain food. I thought Lucas would hate olives (because I hate them), but he loves them. He also loves onions, peppers, chick peas, lettuce, and many other things I never thought a toddler would like.
8. Limit convenience foods as much as possible. Make your own “lunchables”. They will be less processed if your buy your own block of cheese and deli meat and cube it yourself. Try healthier convenience foods such as cinnamon rice cakes, yogurt covered fruit, whole grain crackers with a fruit spread, or raisins as “sweet treats”.
9. Don’t give in to food strikes! Children like to use food as a way of showing their independence, but they will not starve themselves.
10. If all else fails, a little bribery won’t hurt either-LOL! Of course, this option can only be used sparingly!
Truthfully, some days NONE of these things work at all and I just have to take a deep breath and know that it is ok.
If your child is not eating enough then try to avoid these common mistakes:
Drinking more than 16-24 ounces of milk each day.
Drinking more than 4-6 ounces of juice each day.
Letting your child fill up on sweets and snacks.
Forcing your child to eat when he isn’t hungry.
Giving servings that are too big. The average toddler serving is going to be about 1/4 of an adult serving size. Don’t go by the serving size listed on nutrition labels, as these are mainly for older children and adults.
Click here for a list of toddler friendly snacks and meals.