In my experience both at home and in the office, things go downhill in the feeding department when they hit age 2. They tend to eat less and they can become quite the picky eaters. All kids are different but i’ve noticed that this is a trend in toddlerhood.
So what are a few things we can do as parents to cultivate the desire to try new foods and eat healthier?
Create a Routine and Be Organized – Eating healthy does require some work! Maintaining a daily routine is key – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks in between, and plenty of water. And although life can become complicated, eating healthier does require us to meal plan somewhat. Whether you meal plan on a weekly or monthly basis is up to you and your schedule, but this will keep you on track and think about pairing the right foods together.
Introduce New Foods Slowly – Do you recall when you started your baby on solids and you introduced new foods over the course of several days? Well, things aren’t much different in toddlerhood! We introduced foods slowly to catch any possible allergies. We don’t necessarily do it for that same reason in toddlerhood but the strategy may be beneficial so that kids can get used to the taste of new foods. The more you try something, the chances are your taste buds will recognize the food and accept it more.
Involve the Kids and Enjoy – Children are more likely to enjoy food if they have fun with it! Using shape cutters to make sandwiches or add a smiley face to their pancakes may entice them into eating their food. Allowing them to help you make pizza for dinner on Family Friday Night may get them excited to eat it afterwards. We can make pizza a little healthier with the ingredients we choose, right? 😉
Buy the Healthier Stuff – Stalking up on some of the unhealthier foods is a temptation and it’s only a matter of time that your kids will open up the pantry, see it, and want it. If we purchase some of the healthier items such as the fruits and veggies, then our kids will be more likely to eat those items since that is what ‘s available!
Balanced Diet – I’m a firm believer of “things in moderation.” I do allow my kids to eat their chocolate chip cookie if they’ve eaten dinner well, for example. Creating a taboo with food can potentially cause the children to want those other foods more. It’s a balance!
Being a Role Model – If we the parents eat pizza, greasy cheeseburgers, and ice cream every day, guess what our kids will eat? That’s right, they will eat pizza, greasy burgers, and ice cream every day. If they see us eat a diversity of food, that will become the norm to them and they will learn to do the same.
So the next time your 3 year old decides to throw a tantrum because they have to eat their broccoli, think about these little tips and hopefully it will make meal time a little more pleasant. 😉
Weekly Exclusive to aMother Adventure by:
Laura Soto, D.O.
Family Medicine Physician
You may LIKE my Facebook Page Below: