Let’s face it: when it comes to feeding a toddler, there comes a time when many of us throw our hands up in the air and say “Let them eat whatever they want!” Me? Guilty as charged. My little girl ate everything during the first year and a half of her life. Seasoned parents always warned: “She will be picky by the time she is two.” I didn’t listen; I had no reason to!
An article in a parenting magazine stated that children are most put off by green foods, so I made sure that she got a little green in her diet everyday – whether it was an avocado, pees, or broccoli, I wanted to make sure that she didn’t develop food aversions so early on. To this day, she still enjoys her green foods and veggies aren’t an issue. However, food in general is the issue.
She isn’t a breakfast eater. Instead, she snacks up until lunch time, eats her lunch, and then snacks until dinner. I try to keep her snacks as healthy as possible and always put a cut fruit or a bowl of baby carrots out so she can snack on throughout the day. I know that if I ask her if she wants something, the answer will be no, but if it is cut and out in front of her, she will always reach for that healthy snack option.
During our outings, it is easy to throw crackers in a bag and call it a healthy snack, but we all know that fresh foods are best, especially when children are picky eaters to begin with because you never know what foods you will actually get in their bellies. I bring along fresh cut strawberries, blueberries, bananas, or carrots when we travel. She has complained a few times and asked for chips, crackers, or cookies, but I simply explain to her what I brought along to eat and if she doesn’t want these options then she can have nothing. This NEVER goes over well and she usually throws a tantrum but within minutes her tantrum is over and she will ask me for whatever I brought along. Mommy won this match, dinner is another story!
Always offer a healthy option first. Let your child be part of picking out fresh fruits and veggies when you go to the supermarket. They are more likely to try something new if they pick it out themselves!
Don’t give in to tantrums. Simply explain what options they have, never giving more than 2 options. If they throw a tantrum, simply walk away or ignore it. Children will not starve themselves!
Make healthy snacking fun - cut kiwis into stars, or apple pieces into various shapes.
Children learn habits from their parents. If they see you snacking on chips, chances are that is what they will want to snack on too! Be a good model and set the best example for your kids by making the right choices for yourself as well!
Elaina is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom to a two and a half year old and newborn. She currently blogs during her spare time at A Time Out For Mommy where she covers topics such as parenting, recipes, relationships, and family life.