Toddlers can have an interesting take on nutrition sometimes, which makes encouraging healthy eating habits a bit tricky. It’s essential to help your kids develop healthy habits earlier, though. Hence, it’s worth the effort to help them develop a love of healthy food while they are young.
Here are some tips for convincing your toddler to eat healthy
1. Say yes
This may seem like crazy advice, but saying yes is a great way to prevent a toddler meltdown. Now, I definitely don’t mean you have to give in to your toddler’s every whim, but if she asks for a cookie you could respond with, “yes, you can have a cookie after you eat some carrots for a snack” . . . or, in my case, I could offer up some croutons if my toddler will eat her scrambled eggs first. Toddlers like to have a bit of control over their food, too, and giving in to some of the unhealthy treats they want helps them to learn moderation.
2. Make healthy food fun
For pickier eaters, I’ve had great luck by playing around with fun serving options. Cut fruit into shapes. Make a healthy dip and serve it with fruits or veggies. Make dinner self-serve and create a baked potato bar or salad bar and let the toddler’s choose their own toppings. There are so many ways to get creative, and toddlers will love it.
3. Provide choices
It seems like every kid has food they don’t like. STILL, I wouldn’t say I like olives even though I’m definitely not a picky eater. My oldest son has a thing against coconut. I try and work around those preferences (within reason) and provide my kids with healthy choices, so if they don’t like one thing I’m serving, they can still have other options. I don’t need my kids to like every food out there. I need them to like enough healthy foods to have a balanced diet.
4. Add fruits and veggies to everything
Fruits and vegetables can be added to so many foods, and they add some great nutrition. Add them to foods your toddler already likes. Top cereal with sliced bananas or berries. Top sandwiches with spinach leaves or cucumbers. Make fruit and veggie smoothies for snacks. You can add fruits and veggies to just about any meal or snack, and adding them to foods your toddler already likes a great way to introduce her to new flavors.
5. Serve veggies in different ways
Toddlers can be a bit finicky. A toddler who doesn’t like raw carrots may like them cooked or shredded. Definitely don’t stop feeding your toddler a food just because she doesn’t like it the first time. Mix it in with foods your toddler already loves or try a different cooking or serving method.