We all want our child to eat healthy meals and have a healthy relationship with food. We want them to be adventurous and open to trying new things and not develop an obsession for eating the same thing habitually.
Teaching our child to be healthful and mindful when they eat can start as early as toddlerhood. The younger the child is, the closer they are to mindful eating. We never want to take the joy out of eating. As parents, we need to teach our children how to be mindful when they are eating and help them learn to select healthier options for themselves. All children, and adults for that matter, are different in what they like to eat. There is no right or wrong way to eat, it is all about making healthy options available and a normal part of their routine.
Each Person is Different and Unique:
There’s no right or wrong way of eating
Consider the Concept of Division of Responsibility:
What to offer – healthy options
When to eat – meals times, not grazing throughout the day
The Child Decides:
If they are going to eat and how much
Get Your Child Involved:
Talk about food. Toddlers are learning colors, shapes, and textures, and food is the perfect teaching tool. During conversations, discuss what a healthy food is. They don’t have a big understanding of health, so start with the basics. Instead of teaching them what food is good or bad, teach them to think of healthy foods as something that will help them grow, get tall, become strong, play more, or run fast.
Food Selection and Meal Preparation
- Have your child help with the grocery shopping
- Let them select things they want to try
- Let your child help prepare the meal, they can wash produce, set the table, sprinkle spices, mix things, anything that is age appropriate in the kitchen
Be a role model:
Children who fear trying new foods have parents who do too, and children who are picky with vegetables have parents who don’t vary their vegetable intake. Children want what their parents have, so make sure you are eating healthy foods to nourish your body too.
Be patient and continue to offer a variety of foods:
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