Teaching toddlers healthy eating habits isn't always easy. They are still so tiny… how will they understand? On this page, a mother explains how she gets her 14 month old to eat healthy food:
As parents, I think we're so focused on "knowing what's best" for our kids, we often forget to see things from their point of view, especially when it comes to food and teaching toddlers healthy eating habits.
Regardless of the fact that I am a Health Coach and Nutritional Therapist, I didn't start liking mushrooms until a few years ago.
still don't fancy onions very much, and brussel sprouts are something
that has become an acquired taste.
So why do I feel the need to force these things on my child?
Sure, she's 14 months, she doesn't know
what junk food tastes like, I still have the power to create an un-picky
eater... If only that were true.
Whenever I cook items that I know aren't high on my daughters 'most liked foods' list, I still offer them to her.
They go on her tray along with the rest of the meal and I hope that some of those foods make it into her little body to nourish and fuel her brain, her cells, the place where her beautiful soul lives.
I know what these foods can do for her, how they can protect her, prevent disease or illness, benefit her in so many ways.
What I also realize is all of those things that I know about these foods, she has absolutely no idea.
I do tell her one benefit of each food as I place it on her tray, but she is small and with that, her understanding is limited.
That doesn't mean one day she won't get it.
One day she will know that when I'm showing her the broccoli on her plate, that it is a brilliant source of Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium and what all of that means.
For now though, to her, I am giving her this small tree like thing she is supposed to eat. Compared to the sweet potato on her plate, the broccoli is certainly lacking flavor, as well as an appealing texture. How can I expect her to want to eat that? Sure, she sees Daddy and I loading up on broccoli and other great vegetables, but she is not us.
- are you going about it the wrong way?
I constantly see and hear parents telling their children "you can
have a cookie if you eat some broccoli. You have to eat three bites of
veggies before you can be excused."
Why is that the image we
want to put on food?
Why reward your child with processed sugars for eating the things we should be teaching our children are rewards within themselves?
Why force your child to sit at the table until they eat their vegetables?
You're associating punishment with healthy foods,
therefore creating resentment.
My solution? Give your children the POWER TO CHOOSE.
Give them tons of options, explain to them the benefits of each, let them see you nourishing your body with beautiful, whole foods, and then let them choose.
I think over time, their choices will begin to surprise you, and you're associating food with a positive sense of independence.
My 14 month old already surprised me, when she chose to eat a full plate of sautéed mushrooms the other night. Happy eating!
I think this is the perfect article for mothers and fathers who would like to learn more about teaching toddlers healthy eating habits :) Hope you liked too!
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