Thursday, June 12, 2014

6 Steps for Teaching Your Toddler Healthy Eating Habits

And we are back with week 6 of the One Year and Beyond Link Up!  The last five weeks have been great! We have covered:Taming The Tantrums,
Weaning Your Baby,
Mommy Guilt
When Others Give You Unsolicited Parenting Advice
Traveling With A Toddler.

 If you missed them, make sure you back track and check them out!

This week we are talking about how to get our kids to eat healthy!

Eating healthy is something that I'm passionate about. A healthy immune system is built up through nutrition and the first 5 years of a child's life can be a determining factor in their health for the rest of their lives!

"When you have a child, you have the unique opportunity to mold a developing person. One of your greatest gifts to them can be a disease resistant body created from excellent food choices beginning at youth. Ear infections, strep throats, allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADD or ADHD), and even autoimmune diseases can be prevented by sound nutritional practices early in life. Common childhood illnesses are not only avoidable, but they're more effectively managed by incorporating nutritional excellence into one’s diet. This is far superior to the dependence on drugs to which we are accustomed. No parent would disagree that our children deserve only the best." -Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Because of the research I have done on diet and nutrition for my daughter, I realize how crucial it is for her to learn to eat her fruits and veggies, even if she doesn't want to.

Easier said than done, right?

Honestly, the easiest thing for me to do would be to give in and give my daughter what she wants to eat. It would save time, money, and energy, and the battle would be over! She would happily have crackers and popsicle's for every meal! But my job is not to make my daughter happy, but rather to give her what is best for her!

Like any other habit in life, eating healthy is something that needs to be taught! Here are my top 6 tips for teaching your child to eat healthy. 

1. Be Informed  about your child's health. Know what they need to be eating to be healthy. If you know why you are giving them vegetables (for their own well-being) it will be easier to stick with it when they challenge you! A book I have found very helpful is Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right by Dr. Fuhrman. I used to think that parents who didn't give their kids sugar were just strict! After reading this book, I had a greater understanding of how sugar can cripple their immune systems leading to complications later on in life. It changed the way I feed my daughter.

2. Be United. It is so important for you and your spouse to be on the same page when it comes to your child's eating habits. If you are trying to give your toddler broccoli and your spouse hands them a cookie, the battle is already lost! Share with your spouse why your child eating healthy is important and then face the challenge together. It's wonderful to have a teammate!

3. Be Smart. If you know that your toddler doesn't like to eat a certain vegetable, give it to them first as the only option. Encourage them to take a certain number of bites before offering anything else! 

Additionally, if you know that they prefer certain veggies over others, try to offer those at least once a day in addition to a new veggie or one they don't prefer as much. Remember, it may take up to 12 times of offering something before you child learns to eat it! Stick with it and you may be surprised what your toddler starts to eat!

4. Be Consistent. Toddlers are smart little things. If you cave even once, they remember! If you tell them that they need to take a bite of their veggies before getting other food, be consistent with that. One of my daughter's recent tricks is to say she's all done at the table and then ask for crackers a few minutes later. Sneaky thing! I respond to that by putting her back in her high chair and offering her the same dinner again. No foolin' this mama!

5. Be Creative. There are SO many ways to sneak veggies into dishes just to ensure that your toddler is getting what they need. Here are a few ideas that have worked great for us:

Fruit smoothies with kale and spinach
Cooked spinach in spaghetti/alfredo sauce
Pureed carrots in apple sauce

If you are unsure where to start, here's a post I wrote going through the details of what my daughter eats in a day: Healthy Baby/Toddler Menu.

 I also just recently started using a cookbook called The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. It has great ideas for making normal meals healthier!

6. Be Confident. I used to worry that my daughter would starve to death if I didn't just give in and let her have crackers for every meal (crackers are her favorite if you hadn't caught on to that!). But let me reassure you, my daughter never came close to starving. There were a few meals where she didn't eat much, but eventually did eat! Often we let our own insecurities and fears as parents guilt us into making decisions that aren't the best for our kids! 

Teaching your toddler how to eat healthy is a gift you are giving them that will hopefully last for a lifetime! I know it's hard, but you can do it! Be informed, united, smart, consistent, creative and confident! You've got this!
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From Here to EternityWords About Waverly
my delicious adventure Photobucket
My Delicious Adventure                  The Life Of Faith
Running From The LawThe Olive Tree

May 8:          Taming the Temper Tantrums
May 15:        Weaning from Breastfeeding or From Formula to Cow’s Milk 
May 22:        Dealing with Mommy Guilt
May 29:        When People Share Their Opinions and How to Lovingly Handle it
June 5:         Traveling with your Toddler
June 12:       How to get your toddler to eat their veggies…or their food at all
June 19:       How to make time to blog in the busyness of motherhood
June 26:       Bedtime Battles (nap or bedtime)


  1. These are great tips! I think it is so important to know what your child should be eating (what is healthy), and I strive to set this example for my daughter. She eats what we eat, and we are usually pretty healthy so I am confident we will instill this in her as she grows! I love the getting creative part! Great way to encourage kids to eat!!

    Alycia//Crazily Normal

  2. i loved all these tip!! sneaking healthy food in is my favorite! i used most of your tips with my two my youngest is another story...the girl NEVER eats!! I am not even lying when I say she has had half of watermelon, a handful of peanuts, and milk in the last 48 hours...she is growing and healthy so my dr. says not to worry about lol.

  3. You are an AMAZING momma! I looooove this post! It's so helpful and encouraging for me to continue my ways!
    I'm not sure why, but I've just now figured out to only offer the one thing I know Mia won't eat, and then give her the rest of her food when she finishes it, ha! Oh well, at least I figured it out!


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