I am so excited to have Orlena from Snotty Noses joining us today! We are bringing you her expertise in toddler eating habits to help your toddler have a healthy diet!
If you have toddlers, I’m sure you’ll be aware of their unique table manners. I suspect you know what I’m talking about. It’s not just the food that can upset your toddler, the colour of the plate, the colour of their cutlery, even exactly where they sit can be offensive to your average toddler. They don’t just politely ask you to change things. They scream, they shout, they throw anything they can get their hands on. If you have a picky eater, it can be even tougher.
8 Tips to Help Your Toddler Have a Healthy Diet
It’s difficult feeding a toddler and that’s before we even think about ‘healthy’.
- Teach Healthy Habits from a Young Age Eating habits start to form from a young age. Even toddlers start to form habits so now is a great time to teach them about healthy eating. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of always giving them their favourite food. Before you know it, all they’ll eat is mac and cheese and they won’t touch anything new. Don’t worry, feeding them a healthy diet is not as difficult as it seems.
- Be patient You need to be patient with all things where toddlers are involved.
Present them with healthy food (I’m talking fruit and vegetables).
Don’t worry if they don’t like it, just keep presenting it.
- Don’t pressure them to eat anything
- Have regular snack times
- Present healthy snacks
- Sit down to eat.
- Have family meals as often as you can.
- Be a good role model.
Importance of Being Patient.
I know I’ve said it but it’s worth saying twice. Toddlers can be frustrating. If you present them with healthy food throughout the day and allow them to eat what they want, they will always be eating healthy food. Have regular meal and snack times and if they aren’t hungry, they know that it is only a few hours before the next healthy snack or meal. Of course treats are allowed, but in moderation rather than a ‘snack’. Everyone, especially toddlers, takes a while to get used to new food. They probably won’t like it at first, but that doesn’t matter. They need to learn to get used to it. It might be that they genuinely don’t like something but their default is “not like”. You may need to present new food 15 times before they are used to it (and if they’ve had a bad experience with it, it might be more.) Did I mention being patient?
Importance of Healthy Snacks
Keep presenting them with healthy food rather than falling back on packets of snacks. Fruit is a quick and convenient snack that is often over looked.
You can teach your children to have healthy eating habits. Patience and persistence are the keys. Keep going, keep presenting healthy food and before you know it you’ll have a child who loves and eats healthy food.
Orlena is a pediatric doctor and mother of four small children. She writes about family life and healthy living. She is the author of Crunch! Put a Stop to Picky Eating and Help your Child Love Veggies and the founder of the Healthy Eating for Children Course.