Is your toddler a picky eater? Need to get them use to eating healthier, more nutritious food? Establish good eating habits early in life with these tips for toddlers.
What your toddler eats and the eating habits they are allowed to establish play a major role in their health.
Poor eating habits that include constantly eating on the go, filling up on junk food and not eating enough of the right foods can cause serious problems later in life.
Eating habits, good or bad, start at home in childhood, so the habits you instill in your children now will affect them throughout their life. That’s why it’s so important to teach your kids good habits right from the start.
Establishing good eating habits in a toddler that’s a picky eater can be challenging. Try these tips to help teach your toddler healthy eating habits.
Healthy Eating Habits for Toddlers
1. Try a new food
At least once or twice a month, let your toddler try a new food just to see if they like it. This is a good time to encourage your child to try more vegetables and fruits.
Studies have shown that it takes repeated exposure to vegetables before a child will begin to develop a taste for them when they did not like them before.
2. Eat together
Whenever possible, eat together at the table as a family.
Not only will your toddler be able to see what you are eating and pic up good habits from you, but this will also help you see exactly what your child is eating and what they’re picking over.
You’ll be better able to add in the food groups they may be missing.
3. Don’t skip breakfast
Don’t allow them to miss the most important meal of the day.
Start it off with healthy options like bananas, oranges, apples, and other fruits they enjoy.
Gradually add in a vegetable, like sliced bell peppers. If they won’t try it by itself, try adding the veggie into another dish they love. If they enjoy scrambled eggs, try cooking spinach with the eggs.
If all else fails, blend the veggies with fruit in a blender and make a breakfast smoothie!
4. Eat at home
Try to limit how often you eat out. Kids often opt for familiar items on a menu like burgers or hot dogs.
Eat at home to have greater control over the foods they eat.
5. Allow your kids to help you cook
Cooking healthy meals together can go a long way in helping encouraging kids to try new foods.
Taste test as you follow a recipe or even create funny faces with the food you’re using to make it fun!
6. Limit sweets and snacks
Limit how much candy and other junk food your child eats now and they’ll learn how to eat these foods responsibly later in life.
Don’t allow them to snack all day.
It will destroy their appetite when it’s time for a more nutritious meal. It will also keep them from developing a taste for whole foods that don’t contain a lot of processed sugars and unhealthy ingredients.
7. Encourage healthy snacking
Along the same lines, it is okay to provide a variety of healthy snacks to keep them satisfied between meals.
Make sure they reach for healthy options at a young age and that’s what they’ll reach for later in life.
Healthy eating habits start at home in childhood, so make it a point to teach your child good habits to carry with them throughout their adult life.