If your little son or daughter throws a tantrum the moment he/she is served fruits or veggies, then you are not alone. Almost every mother goes through that phase when her toddler refuses to eat enough or the right kind of foods. But healthy and adequate eating is important to ensure that your little one gets the required nutrition to grow up. They must get their daily dose of vitamins, minerals, fibers, proteins and healthy carbohydrates. So how can you achieve that miracle? Simply follow these 7 smart tips.
1. Eat together and be an example
Most kids follow what their parents do. So, make sure you and your partner have healthy and nutritious meals including fruits and veggies everyday. This way, your child will sooner or later feel interested to find out what you are having and start eating it. Eat together so that he/she can watch what you eat and mimic you.
2. Prepare schedules and plan meals
It is good for children to have small meals every 3 to 4 hours. This will ensure that they don’t get hungry or cranky and enjoy a balanced diet. For snacks, stock your freezer with yogurt, carrots, cucumbers, celery, apples, melons, and so on. Avoid junk or fast food to inspire your toddler to eat healthy. You can also plan big meals like lunches and dinners ahead, so that your child’s plate has all the right foods. For instance, you can go with whole-grain rice, pasta or bread for carbohydrates. Chicken, eggs, fish or beans can provide good proteins. And do remember to include at least one vegetable and one fruit.
3. Colourful or exciting food
Who doesn’t like something colourful on the plate? Your kids are no different. Colours not only excite their senses and recognition skills, but they can also improve eating habits. So, when you are making a salad use veggies of different colors like lettuce, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, purple cabbage and so on. A bowl of fruits can contain pieces of apples, melons, mangoes, kiwi, papaya, grapes, and berries to make things exciting. It is also a fun idea to puree mangoes, peaches, bananas and berries and freeze them in popsicle molds.
Choose from a wholesome range of baby food.
4. Playful dinnerware
Colorful cups, plates and bowls in red, yellow, green or blue can encourage your toddler to eat what they are served. Remember to use dinnerware in high quality and unbreakable materials like plastic. There should be no sharp edges.
5. Experiment and have fun
Playing make-believe while you are playing with your little one can work well if you are trying to make them eat veggies like spinach or broccoli. Or you can tell them that having these greens will make them as strong as Popeye or a dinosaur. Arranging different food items in a playful manner on the plate can do wonders too. Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes with toast or pancakes. Drizzle a little honey or maple syrup on fruits to make them more attractive. Another clever way to make your munchkin have veggies is to pair them with a healthy salad dressing, salsa or hummus. Stir frying veggies with butter and garlic can enhance their flavors as well.
6. Be patient with new foods
Most children are a little apprehensive about new food items. Keep trying until they acquire a taste for it. Avoid criticizing on the amount they are eating. Forcing never helps and will only make your son or daughter more resistant.
7. Get them involved
Usually, when you start involving your toddler in simple food preparation and cooking, you will notice a change in his or her eating habits. Ask them to choose the vegetable and place cut ones in the bowl. They can go grocery shopping with you too. Allow him/her to pick the fruits they want. You can also prepare delicious muffins or smoothies with apples, bananas and berries together. Your kid can stir the batter or add the ingredients he or she wants in one bowl. It is okay if things get a bit messy.
Fussy baby? These colourful and nutritious treats might do the trick.
Tip: While motivating your kids to eat right is very important, it is also crucial to let them have fun. Try and cut off junk, but don’t say “no” to occasional sundaes, popcorn, sodas or chips. The moment you completely put your foot down about fast food, your little one will get more attracted to burgers, pizzas and French fries. You can also reward them for trying a vegetable or fruit by offering a cookie or a sticker perhaps. If your child is picky about most food items, don’t give up. Ensuring healthy eating is a long process, which requires following up. Another good idea is to ask him or her to take at least one bite before rejecting any particular food. This won’t seem forceful and your toddler will learn to try new things.
Try out these simple tricks and notice the positive changes in your toddler’s eating patterns.