Let’s set the scene: you’ve cooked a healthy meal for your family, but your toddler takes one look at their peas and carrots and throws the whole plate on the floor.
With a sigh, you clean up and replace their food with some chicken nuggets from the freezer. Does that sound familiar? Making toddlers do anything they don’t want to is no easy feat, which includes healthy eating.
But nutrition for toddlers is critical for good growth, development, and building habits for life. So if you’re at a loss for how to convince your toddler that healthy food is good food, you need to learn a few simple tips.
Read on for a quick guide to food for toddlers.
Buying Toddler Food
Your toddler doesn’t have the same acquired taste preferences that you do, so don’t expect them to want the same foods. Luckily, there are plenty of prepackaged ‘toddler foods’ you can buy.
These foods contain optimal nutrition while being designed to be appealing to toddlers. They often have bright packaging and sweet flavors—substitute chocolates and sweets for toddler-friendly snacks.
Giving Toddlers Choices for Food
Raising children is all about helping them learn to make good decisions; this applies to food choices too. So it’s important to encourage them to choose healthy foods of their own initiative.
But, this is easier said than done. First, start by giving them a choice between two healthy options (apple slices or rice cakes?). Then, once they’re used to making choices, you can introduce some of their less preferred unhealthy foods and watch them opt for their favorite healthy snacks instead.
Lead By Example
Toddlers learn everything they know from you, so make sure you lead by example—no more quick chocolate binges in front of them.
Make sure to slip positive statements into conversation (“I’m going to eat an apple because I know it’ll give me loads of energy and make me feel great.”) Make your nutrition a priority and watch your toddler follow suit.
Take Tips From the Top
You’re not the first person to have a fussy toddler, and you won’t be the last. There’s no need to work it all out for yourself. Ask your friends, consult the parenting books, and look online for valuable tips about encouraging healthy eating for toddlers.
Websites like Alldayparenting.com have a host of useful articles about toddler nutrition, including the importance of setting daily portions and giving toddlers new food.
Don’t be afraid to seek advice from those that have come before you.
Good Nutrition for Toddlers: It Can Be Done
That’s the 101 on nutrition for toddlers. But, unfortunately, it can seem like a mountain to climb, especially when your floor is covered with rejected peas and carrots each dinner time.
However, with these simple tips, you can make it easier for everyone involved. Make the most of dedicated toddler foods, let them make choices, lead by example, and get extra tips from other experienced parents.
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