Teaching anyone healthy eating habits is hard but it is not the same when you teach toddlers instead. The difference is simple, toddlers don’t have any habits at all. The only thing they’ve known is breastmilk or formula. So your job now has become easier.
Let’s get to the multiple ways you can teach your toddler healthy habits.
1, Practice What You Preach: Be An Example
When your toddler sees you eating something, they will want the same thing you have. This is an easy way to get your little one to eat all the things he or she should.
Setting an example may be hard, that why I researched and found a great article in regards to Eating GOALS for us adults.
2, Introduce Veggies & Grains Before Fruits
To this, I can completely attest. I can assure you with absolute certainty that it works. I first did vegetables: kale, spinach, green beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes with squash.
My daughter won’t eat fruits as much as vegetables, but she prefers berries, bananas, and pears with the occasional grape. Sweeter fruits like apple, and peach she doesn’t.
3, Avoid Candy, Sweets & Processed Foods
I am not big on candy but I do love sweets, pastries, and cakes. I love sweets but because I want my daughter to keep a healthy diet, I have reduced the number of sweets I tend to eat.
In the instance that you do decide to eat sweets, try to not be by your child and hide if you have to, I do.
4, Limit Fast Foods
I’m not a lover of fast foods so I had no problem with it. But if you do love fast foods, then make a plan. Try to only consume these foods when you’re not around your toddler and limiting the intake to once or twice a week at most.
5, Instill A Routine
Try to have meals every day at the same time or close enough. Have a variety of healthy foods that you rotate through the week, always introducing at least one new item.
Which leads me to number six…
6, Encourage Trying New Things
When children are used to having something new often they find it ‘normal’. So they will be more open to anything new offered in the future.
7, Offer One Food Choice & Stick To It
By only having one option available it shows what will be consumed. And by not offering multiple choices you are being less wasteful.
8, Have Healthy & Nutritious Options Available
When healthy and nutritious foods are always accessible and available it promotes the consumption of these foods.
This will result in a more balanced diet.
9, Water, Always ( instead of juice, soda or milk)
Water will always be the healthiest option for anyone, not just toddlers. Juice and milk should be limited to the daily recommended amount by your health professional.
10, NEVER Feed As A Way Of Reward
Feeding as a reward or to ‘soothe’ can create problems in the future.
It can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, by eating because of accomplishments or to soothe emotions like heartache, and anxiety, among others.
If a child behaves well, it would be better to ‘reward’ with praise and going out to the park rather than ice cream or pizza.
**There is nothing wrong with pizza or ice cream but when it is done this way it can provoke the association with certain events and eating, and we don’t want that.
To soothe you want to instead, hug it away. Be there for your child or simply let them express their emotions with you. A bath can also be a great option for soothing toddlers.
Related: Teaching Toddlers Good Manners
Benefits Of Healthy Eating In Early Childhood
When children, especially toddlers, consume healthy foods it results in optimal brain development, physical growth, and early adoption of healthy eating habits.
Understand that like us adults they do have preferences, there are just some things my daughter won’t eat.
I accept that because she does eat well and likes trying new things.
For more information on ways to live a clean and healthy life, read Sam’s simple tips; you’ll thank me later.
Final Thoughts On Teaching Toddlers Healthy Eating Habits
When we practice healthy eating habits, we are setting an example to follow. Your toddler will do as you do, which is why it is the ultimate way to teach good eating habits to our little ones.
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