As new parents, we can never be certain on how our children’s eating habits will be. That’s why it’s very important to start them off with healthy habits at a young age and lead by example. As an infant, my son loved breast milk and gained so much weight from it. When he was starting solids, he really liked carrots, bananas, avocados and sweet potatoes. I loved making him homemade purees! Then around 9 months old, he got the cold/flu for the first time. Mixed with his teething pains, getting sick really changed his eating habits dramatically! My baby went from an always hungry little bear, eating everything and anything to a very very picky little monster! Meal times were always a battle, and I would introduce and cook all day to see what he WILL eat. It resorted to chicken noodle soup and spaghetti almost EVERY SINGLE DAY. But, I never gave up and just kept trying and trying.
Fortunately, his appetite and his curiosity for food came back at around 18 months old (he’s now 2.5 years old), and these tips really helped turn my little picky monster around:
1) Let him help in the kitchen— No, this doesn’t mean I let him stand by the stove or use knives to cut fruits and vegetables. Instead, I allow him to help me make our daily green juice. This sparks his interests in juices even more, and it also allows him to learn what goes into his favorite juice.
2) Give him variety and freedom— When my picky eater is hard to please, I give 2-3 healthy options to choose from for his snack and/or meal. He can either choose from, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, or bananas. Oranges and blueberries always win! He also chooses whether he wants brown rice or white rice, and my little one always chooses brown. Even though his choices are predictable, I still give him choices so that he can feel more independent.
3) Stock up on the healthy stuff— As much as I want to buy chocolate covered pretzels at the market, I definitely have to stop myself. That’s because my toddler always figures out a way to find it! So, instead I make sure to stock up on plenty of fruits and vegetables. I hate wasting food, so buying a lot of fruits and vegetables will push and encourage me to use it & be persistent in offering it. There are so many ways to cook up delicious vegetables! These are examples of the items that are always in stock at home:
- Chobani Greek Yogurt
- Organic zucchini
- Organic kale
- Organic spinach
- Lean ground turkey
- Organic blueberries
- Organic strawberries
- Organic bananas
4) Make grocery trips fun! –– Nathan and I have plenty of fun at the market. He loves sitting in the cart while I push him around and tell him all the neat things we can find at the market. Whenever we’re at the produce section, I tell him the names of each items, and we have a discussion about the colors and shapes. He loves that! This way, he becomes familiar with what we eat and becomes excited to take it home to try it.
5) Save the trip— Instead of going out to buy Nathan a special yummy treat, we recreate our favorite “outside” treats, at home! Instead of going to get smoothies at a fast food place, we rather buy the ingredients at the market. We save our outdoor adventures to go to the park, indoor playgrounds, or museums! We kick it up a notch and add Chobani Kids yogurt to make it extra creamy! Here’s a scrumptious strawberry banana smoothie recipe using Chobani Kids yogurt!
- 1 cup Strawberry Chobani Kids Yogurt (about 2 1/2 packets)
- 1/2 banana
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup ice
4 thoughts on “5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Habits Among Toddlers”
Wonderful advice. I also believe that you have to lead by example. Having kids help in the kitchen and integrating them in the cooking process does help a ton with the turning picky kids around!
What a great post! My boys love helping out in the kitchen and it totally makes things easier if I give them choices and then let them pick what they want. Thanks for the tips!
I enjoyed reading your post. Your son is adorable. My kids always liked going to the grocery store we would make it a game and they loved smelling the different fruit and vegetables , too. Thank you for sharing another great post full of awesome tips!
Great post! Loving it! Pinned and tweeted. Thanks for being a part of our party. I hope to see you tonight at 7. Lou Lou Girls