It’s one of the biggest challenges parents face. How do I get my child to eat healthy foods? If you are struggling to get your toddler to eat a balanced diet, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can help your child enjoy their fruits and veggies.
Don’t Keep Junk in the House
If you don’t keep cookies in the cupboard, you won’t be able to cave in when your toddler is pulling on your pant leg begging for cookies. No chips in the pantry? No problem. If you don’t keep junk in stock, it won’t be there when you or your child wants to binge. Make sure that you keep plenty of healthy snack options in the house. You can replace crunchy snacks like chips with carrots or pepper slices. You can even start out with almond crackers or pretzels as you work towards healthier options — small changes matter.
Praise Your Child
When your toddler makes a healthy decision on their own, be sure to give them praise for it. Positively reinforcing desired habits will compel them to keep up with those actions. Don’t let their healthy behaviors go unnoticed! Wouldn’t it be nice if we adults had someone cheering us along every time we ate our broccoli or went to the gym? It is important to note that food itself should not be used as a reinforcement for positive behavior, as it often has undesired results like emotional eating.
Involve Your Child in Meal Prep
Teaching your child to cook healthy meals will inspire them to eat healthy for life. Have them sort and wash produce and do other meal prep tasks that are safe for their age level. This will teach them how to make healthy food for their self and get them excited about eating nutritiously. Make it fun, make it educational, and let them pick out the recipes! Take it a step further by eating dinner as a family without phones, tablets, or TV.
Make Water the Drink of Choice
The benefits of drinking water are endless. By replacing sugary beverages like soda and juice with zero-calorie water, you can radically change the health of your family. Beverages other than water provide very little nutritional value and can lead to tooth decay. If your children have been regularly consuming sweetened beverages, they may need dental exams to determine the health of their teeth.
Getting your children involved with healthy food by cooking and eating together, combined with healthier food and drink options, will set them on the right track for a lifetime of making healthy, mindful diet choices.