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Helping Your Child Make Healthy Choices

Helping little ones make healthy choices in the kitchen can seem a little daunting but the rewards of a good diet are well worth it! Whether you are wrangling a picky eater or fighting a time crunch, try offering a few key nutrients and encouraging healthy choices along the way. After all, a balanced diet helps give your child(ren) the energy they need to learn and grow.

Consider this - a toddler only needs about 1,000 calories a day. This translates to 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetables in a serving and a piece of meat that would fit in the palm of their tiny hand. When you break it down like that, it doesn’t seem quite so difficult!   

Here are some ways that you can encourage your toddler to make healthy food choices.

Get creative. Young children love new adventures and are fascinated with making things – especially in the kitchen. They want to do what you do, so invite them in to help when time allows. Cooking can help kids learn too! They can practice some basic math skills by counting eggs or explore their senses by rolling out dough or smelling the different spices as they sprinkle and shake. The experience of creating meals with you can help build their self-confidence and give them a sense of accomplishment. Believe it or not, they will be more willing to try new tastes when they are excited about what they made! Even very young kids don’t have to feel left out — give them empty pots and spoons so they can pretend to cook with you!

Make meals and snacks fun. Instilling in your child an appreciation for healthy eating doesn’t have to be a chore. Since shapes and colors are fun and interesting to little ones, enlist your toddler's help in choosing healthy toppings for a pizza or grating cheese on a casserole. Arrange veggies into works of art by using carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers to make faces on their plate. Make pancakes in the shape of your child’s initials or try this delicious bunny pancake. Cut sandwiches into shapes with cookie cutters or try this adorable lion-shaped sandwich. Adding fun touches at mealtime is a simple way to help your child find joy in eating healthy.  

Stop the food fights. Give your toddler a little autonomy and let them decide how much to eat - just don't use sweets as a bribe. Do your best to eat together as a family — at the table, not in front of the television. This is a great social experience as well so try not to rush. Slow down and enjoy some time together. Providing healthy options and making good choices yourself, is a great way to start! Plus, spending mealtime together and allowing them some control over their eating can help establish a healthy view of food and encourage making good choices as they grow.

How do you inspire your child to eat healthy?

Tags: #Healthy # Food # Toddler


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