How to encourage your toddler to eat healthy

How to encourage your toddler to eat healthy

The title of this post might sound challenging, or be seen by some as impossible. For me it’s just that. Encouraging my toddler to eat healthy, and eat something other than biscuits, crisps and beige food is proving some what of a challenge. We’ve had weeks and weeks where she won’t eat anything I cook for her, please tell me I’m not the only one? I’m fed up with food going to waste or being chucked across the kitchen floor.

Having read that 1 in 3 children aged 2 – 11 years old are over weight, which is really worrying considering that more money is being pumped into diabetes and obesity than our police and fire service, we need to do something about this. I’ve come to realise that I need to change my tactics when it comes to food, and work out ways for getting her to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner when we’re at home.

There are many simple ways that I can do this and move her away from those pesky malted milk biscuits. Having read some of the top tips from Families Online, here are 5 things that I will be putting into practice.

Eat together

I can’t emphasize this enough. I noticed that our toddler wasn’t eating when I just sat her in the highchair and let her get on with it. However once I started sitting down with her to have lunch at 11am, and we ate at the same time, I found that she ate more of her meal. This also means I’m spending less of the day preparing food, as we are both having our lunch at the same time (even though it is 11am).

Let them decide

This is something I find quite hard to handle as I hate food wastage. But all toddlers are experimenting with food, and they may not want everything that’s on their plate. As part of getting our daughter to eat more I’ve started to offer her a range of food on a tray plate which she likes. I also find it a good way to quickly see what she has and hasn’t eaten.

Treats

As much as I say that our daughter can’t have a treat until she’s finished her main course, I need to stop doing it. As adults we don’t always finish our dinner, yet we still have a pudding. I need to put the same into practice for our toddler, and serve up fruit and yogurts after the main course. It’s not just about ice cream for dessert.

Introduce new foods

I really wish that we had stuck at baby-led weaning, however I was so desperate to get her off the boob quickly I resorted to spoon feeding and imposing food on her. So now we’re in a position where I need to introduce new foods at a later stage, this is fine, but I’m going to do it slowly, so that she has a plate of food that she’s familiar with and also new foods too. I also find that meal planning is a brilliant way to help do this.

Sugar

This one I was really surprised about, and couldn’t quite believe that I was actually doing it. I found that adding a small sprinkle of sugar to my daughter’s strawberries encouraged her to eat them. I know that this might sound wrong to some people, but at least she’s getting some fruit on top of that malted milk biscuit.

So those are my top tips for trying to encourage our daughter to eat healthily, there are so many more tips that are included in this brilliant infographic put together by Families Online.

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I hope that this has provided support and inspiration for anyone struggling to get their child or toddler to eat healthy. Will you be putting any of these tips into practice, or do you have any other tips to get your child to eat their greens?

Claire x

This is a collaborative post with Families Online.

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16 Comments

  1. A Mum Track Mind August 10, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Zak was an extremely fussy eater and to some extent I find that he still is – some people just are so don’t beat yourself up about it. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things, eating together is definitely my number one tip and eating the same foods as the children too. Most of all I just want food and eating to be a relaxing experience so I just think if she doesn’t eat it then she’s maybe not that hungry and leave it at that. She won’t starve herself I promise x
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    • The Pramshed August 10, 2017 / 11:20 pm

      I agree and think that eating together is the number one thing, so that they see it as an experience rather than being forced upon. They eat together at nursery so why shouldn’t they at home. Thanks for reading and commenting x x

  2. Jenny August 10, 2017 / 10:03 am

    It’s definitely important to help children eat healthily. We always have a range of healthy snacks available. 🙂

  3. Jen Walshaw August 10, 2017 / 11:34 am

    I think that it is important to remember that picky eating like most things can often just be a phase. I totally agree with you on eating together.
    Jen Walshaw recently posted…Free Summer Colouring BookmarksMy Profile

  4. RACHEL BUSTIN August 10, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    Great tips here, my 18 month old is not a bad eater, when she wants to be! She most fruit apart from bananas! x

    • The Pramshed August 10, 2017 / 11:26 pm

      Thanks and it’s good to hear that at 18 months she’s eating banana that’s really positive. I wish that mine would, she just likes to say banana and wants it, but not to eat. Thanks for reading x x
      The Pramshed recently posted…How to encourage your toddler to eat healthyMy Profile

    • The Pramshed August 10, 2017 / 11:28 pm

      Ooh must check that out and we definitely have a fussy eater here. I’m almost thinking about leaving out a buffet style meal and just letting her pick. Thanks for reading and commenting x x
      The Pramshed recently posted…How to encourage your toddler to eat healthyMy Profile

  5. Grace August 11, 2017 / 10:19 am

    Some great tips here! Feeding little ones can be such a minefield, especially when they’re going though the fussy eating stage. We try to be as relaxed about it as possible (not always easy!), giving our 4 year old the same meal as the rest of us and leaving it up to him if he wants to eat it or not. We’ve found he actually eats more of the healthy stuff when the pressure is off. I like making fun food with the kids too, anything to make healthy food more appealing!
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  6. Mel August 11, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    Great tips! I often think that my children tend to favour beige food too! I agree wholeheartedly about not wanting food being wasted. My four are not too bad to be fair, but when they don’t finish their plates, either my husband or I finish for them 🙂 Making food a little bit more fun also encourages them to try new things e.g. rainbow fruit kebabs. Getting involved in making the food also tends to get them more interested in trying the dishes.

  7. Mel August 11, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    Great tips! I often think that my children tend to favour beige food too! I agree wholeheartedly about not wanting food being wasted. My four are not too bad to be fair, but when they don’t finish their plates, either my husband or I finish for them 🙂 Making food a little bit more fun also encourages them to try new things e.g. rainbow fruit kebabs. Getting involved in making the food also tends to get them more interested in trying the dishes. xx

  8. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper August 12, 2017 / 11:32 pm

    These are great tips- I try to ignore picky eating as much as possible and focus on what they are eating instead. I find small children rarely starve themselves!

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