Almost all toddlers have this problem–there comes a time when they begin to hate eating healthy foods like vegetables and fruits. At age 2 to 4 years old, the nightmare begins–all they want are cakes, bread, chocolates, junk food or anything sweet. Well, sometimes they retain their love for milk and that’s the only way they get any real nutrition.
But the problem with milk is toddlers need to be weaned from it and slowly introduced to solid healthy foods. They can’t just drink milk forever and do away with the rest. And commercialized processed soft food for babies are only good for a time.
How do we make them love milk and real healthy food? Sometimes, this seems like a losing battle for us and it can be a source of stress. Just imagine your child getting nothing in his body, but junk and milk.
But fortunately, there’s a way out. Here are things you can do:
1Accept the fact
Anyway, it’s not going to be forever. Toddlers go through phases as they develop their bodies, mind and even preferences. With growing up kids, there’s a time for everything. And for sure, there will be a time when your kid would start appreciating healthy food, of course, with some help from you.
2Be a model
Dad and mom (plus older siblings) should model eating healthily. You have to convince your toddler about healthy food by example. You can’t just allow your kid to keep eating junk for weeks or months. But neither should you shove healthy food down his throat. The power of convincing should do the trick–or sometimes, the power of negotiation. The best thing to do is to promote healthy food. Put nothing on the dinner table but healthy food and let your toddler see everyone in the family eating it. Kids will just follow the examples of those older than them.
3Cut off supply
As earlier mentioned, put nothing on the dinner table other than real food. It’s goodbye to junk for a long time. And this means, saying no to TV commercials for junk food as well. So you’d need the power of remote control. As soon as junk food is promoted on TV (or on the Net), change channel.
4Start with what naturally appeals
A lot of healthy foods are naturally appealing to kids. You can start with them. Examples are cereals with milk topped with fruit. Squash recipes cooked with a little meat. Chicken or fish in souped recipes with vegetables can also be appetizing to kids. For sweets, there are ways to present fruits like bananas, apples and grapes in a luring fashion, like mixed salads topped with some honey.
Mixing naturally colorful foods can become appealing to kids, like in the case of veggie or fruit salads. Or, cut out fruits and vegetables to look like your kid’s favorite shapes. Or, give them small plates with interesting kiddie designs on them.