Healthy eating begins before birth, with the nutrients that are being passed to our little ones in utero. Next, it’s the nutrients of our breast-milk or formula, (depending on the decision that we as Mothers made). One thing does remain constant, and that is MOMMA!
We have the power to forever teach our children healthy eating habits, and IT IS NEVER too late to begin!
Here are my best tips and greatest understandings for pleasing those picky eaters among us
Why are toddlers picky? Their growth is slower than that of infants so their need for food is less. These little ones don’t sit still for anything – even food – so snacking their way through the day may be easier to manage.
Relax! A parent’s job is just to buy nutritious foods, prepare them healthfully and serve them creatively. When, what and how much the toddler eats is up to them.
Binge eating: Toddlers often eat one food at a time – fruits one day, vegetables the next. They may eat voraciously today and nothing tomorrow. Aim for a nutritiously balanced week rather than a balanced day.
Nibblers: Offer an ice cube tray, muffin tin or compartmentalized dish with bite sized portions of colorful, nutritious foods in each section.
Dip it: Fun and messy. Think tofu dip, cream cheese, guacamole, nut butter, pureed fruit or yogurt.
Spread it: Give a toddler a dull bread knife to spread cream cheese, nut butter, guacamole etc on toast or rice cakes.
Drink it: If your toddler would rather drink than eat – make a smoothie. You can add all kinds of supplements – and they’ll never know they are in there.
Shape shifting: Use cookie cutters to make foods into fun shapes.
Mini size: try mini muffins, mini quiches, mini bagels etc.
The bite rule: The “bite rule” gets your child to try a new food, while giving him some control over the intake. If you take 3 bites, 2 bites, etc….
Tiny tummies: Remember that toddlers have small stomachs. Start with small portions and refill the plate if your child asks for more.
Upside down: If your child is hungriest at breakfast, try serving last night’s chicken breast then. Meal distinctions have little meaning for little people so pack the nutrients in when you know they will be really hungry.
Consistently inconsistent: Young children’s food preferences can seem to turn on a dime. Mealtime is one area where a youngster can exert some independence and control – and many of them soon learn they can manipulate their parents in this arena. Just because they loved a food yesterday, doesn’t mean they’ll eat it today.
Fuss-budgets: Sometime between age 2 and 3 many children develop fixed ideas about food – whether food can touch on the plate, how you cut their sandwich, how runny the eggs are – your best bet is to try to keep track of these preferences and try to avoid conflict.
Let them be a part of the planning : The more we include our children in choices and learning about foods, where they come from ,what kind of trees they grow on , the more interested they will be in eating what is served on the plate.