Is your child a fussy eater? Do you find difficulty in feeding them? Your problem might be solved by following few easy, creative and amazing tips.
Growing children never sit at rest, once the baby starts walking they become little dynamites, they keep on exploring and cruising around, for which they need a lot of energy and nutrients in order to function well. It’s not about food only but healthy food is the key.
Developing healthy eating habits at the young age will help your child in maintaining the same in adulthood. We have heard many times from the mothers of toddlers, complaining that their kids don’t eat properly and say ‘no’ to everything they offer.
This is a battle between you and your kid, and most of the time your child wins it. You have to stop this battle, don’t get stressed and try to normalize the situation. A basic key in helping to learn your child about healthy food alternatives is to start at an early stage.
Here are few approaches parents can take to develop healthy eating habits in toddlers.
Healthy Snacks and Meals
At this age your child is not self sufficient to make their own meals or go out and eat at the drive through, it is you who has to serve, so choose wisely and present nicely.
Always select the healthy options, focus on lean meat, fish, poultry, whole grain breads and cereals, brightly colored fruits and vegetables as snacks. Do not worry if they are not eating all of them, having one thing at one meal is enough for their nutrition.
Avoid sugars, soda, fat and cholesterol. Serve water with meals. Help your child to make healthy choices.
Let them Choose
Yes! Your kids need all this freedom to choose what they want to eat. Never force them, let them decide themselves. Give them option to chose from the two (would you like to have a sandwich or a cereal).
This is the way they will learn self control and at the same time you are satisfied that they are eating healthy.
Take Hints from Your Toddlers
There are days when your child eats a lot and then there are days when they don’t. It’s normal, do not panic over it. It’s necessary to understand that young children can manage well about when they want to eat and when they don’t. So don’t push them to have ‘one last bite’ when they simply refuse to have it.
Forceful eating can often lead to overeating and weight gain of your child. Therefore, offer them regular meals and if they decide to pass, let them. You can always offer something healthy later on.
It’s a part of developing healthy habits in your kids that you make them learn to decide and control their hunger. All is well if they are growing well.
Monkey See Monkey Do
Kids are the best imitators. They do what they see and never follow what they are told to do. Therefore, be a role model for them. Eat your veggies and fruits in front of them so they can follow your path.
A child learns all this from parents, what to eat, where to eat, how to eat, when to eat. So set an example for them by doing it first.
Mix Things Up
Don’t be rigid about particular meals at particular timings, there is no hard and fast rule that an egg is to be eaten at breakfast or grilled chicken at dinner time. As long as they are eating healthy at any meal time, they are good to go.
Try mixing things up. Do Not offer same things at same timings everyday.
Empty your Pantry
Oh the most desirable things to kids are candies, chips, chocolates and what not. All the unhealthy things in the world are most attractive for kids. If you don’t keep them at home, your toddler is less likely to eat or drink them.
Keep the treats only for occasions like birthday parties etc.
Have Family Meals
Eat together as a family, this will promote the happy and pleasant idea that the mealtime is more than just eating food. Its sharing time, its connecting time, have meaningful conversations at table instead of arguments.
If mealtimes are annoying, your kids may finish their meal hurriedly and leave the table as soon as possible and always connect the idea of mealtime as stressful.
Don’t forget to get their help in kitchen, toddlers are capable of understanding small instructions. Bring them with you in kitchen and take their ideas about meal preparations.
Plan groceries with them, it gives them sense of ownership in choosing their food. Do not cook separate meals for them, engage them with you and help them learn that they have to eat whatever is being prepared for the whole family.
Be creative and make their food look colorful and catchy. Make preparations as fun time.
Never choose any food as a reward of doing good, or behaving at someone’s place. Food as a reward will lead your child in creating unhealthy emotional relationship with food, which may become a cause of overeating later.
Hugs and kisses are always best to show your love instead of candies and chocolates, and are calorie free.
These were some of the ways to develop healthy eating habits in toddlers, a kid with healthy eating habits today will have the healthy habits tomorrow too.
You cannot master it in a day, although kids love consistency in their routine but they are also open to try and welcome new things.
The route to achieve success in developing healthy eating habits in toddlers is to keep trying and have patience. Try try try until you will see yourself winning the food fight battle with your toddler.