When my babies were young, it was easy to have them eat only healthy foods. We made our own babyfood, and mostly they ate veggies, fruits, rice, oatmeal and some proteins—-chicken, turkey, cheese etc….In fact, I remember once looking at their meals and commenting to my husband that we should all have that healthy a diet. However, I find that as the kids get older—they are now almost two—-healthy eating becomes more of a challenge. Other HDYDI moms have some suggestions for how to do this, I have some and I’d love to hear yours as well.
Cook with your kids
The general consensus is that kids are more likely to eat foods if they’ve helped prepare them. Now while this isn’t necessarily helpful when you’re making chocolate chip cookies, it’s certainly useful for the healthy foods. We–ok, fine, let’s be honest here—my husband does a lot of cooking with the kids, from breakfast foods on the weekends to chili or muffins or pumpkin bread. We started early, probably around a year or so, and let them sit and watch us cook at the counter. Now they are very into dumping cups of flour, sugar or eggs into the bowl and stirring is really a highlight of any cooking project. That and sampling the project as we go….
Sneak healthy foods
LauraC wrote a great post about this recently. I have nothing to add to this!
Do some reading on nutrition and foods for toddlers. It seems to me that recommendations change regularly—fats are good? Bad? What about carbs? I try to read the latest information on this and generally avoid the more processed foods, if possible. I ususally figure that if we made it ourselves, we know what’s in there. We tend to try to use whole wheat pasta and bread, instead of white and offer lots of fruits and veggies. I think each parent draws the line somewhere differently here.
Join a CSA
Here’s a fun way to get a bunch of local produce—and push yourselves to use A LOT of veggies. There was just a list of local ones in our paper here. Maybe this is just something we contemplate, but it seems like it could be a fun challenge.
Have only healthy snacks available
One HDYDI mom said that her toddlers are happy to have a healthy snack—if you give them a choice of snacks! Just make both choices something you’re happy for them to have. Ahh, toddlers.
What are your eating healthy tips? How do you keep your kids away from the junkfood and teach a love of healthy eating?