Isn’t it great that your child will still love you even if you: haven’t washed your hair in days, forget to put on deodorant before leaving the house, or gave him the red cup when he wanted the blue cup? Your child loves you for the simple fact that YOU are his/her mama. As your child’s parent, there is no one else better qualified for the job!
Although your little one will always love you, they probably won’t always love what you put on their plate at meal time.
Here are four options to help incorporate healthier choices in your child’s diet; even for those picky-refuse-to-eat-what-mom-puts-in-front-of-me type of kid:
1. Consider what your child does like and go with that.
My son is a big fan of bananas so they are always on our grocery list. When temperatures warm up, our bananas usually go bad within a few days. So what’s the next plausible step? Make banana bread of course! In the banana bread recipe, I replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is packed with nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and protein— making it a much better option.
In baking recipes requiring sugar, I like to cut the sugar amount in half and the product is still delicious!
2. Start early (if you can).
When my son was 10 – 12 months old, I introduced macaroni ‘n cheese by also including teeny tiny pieces of broccoli.
To this day, whenever I make macaroni ‘n cheese I add those teeny tiny pieces of broccoli- because every bit counts! Early exposure to vegetables can lead to the success of your child continually eating those vegetables. Consistency is key in this regard. Simply adding vegetables into a meal that your child already likes can be a great place to start! In doing this, you may prevent a picky toddler from being ‘too picky.’
Annie’s Homegrown is our favorite brand of macaroni ‘n cheese because it is USDA Organic and Non-GMO ingredients.
3. Don’t forget you can drink healthy things too!
We absolutely LOVE smoothies. Smoothies can be great all year long and an easy way to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your child’s diet. My go to favorite (and simple) smoothie includes: strawberries, mangos, and orange juice. This fruit smoothie is packed with vitamin C, and tastes so good my picky eater drinks it willingly. The fruits you can combine together are endless! Fresh spinach is a great add-in because not only is it tasteless, it provides vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. All of those nutrients are vitally important for bone health.
Keep in mind that smoothies with spinach might have an interesting color. If this discourages your child from eating it, try serving it in a cup with a lid and/or a non-clear cup.
4. Think outside the box.
Whenever I offer my son an apple he might do one of three things:
- Actually eat the apple.
- Play with it and throw it because its a fun circular shape.
- Bite pieces from it and spit it out.
I enjoy keeping ‘ready-to-eat’ fruit around the house, especially apples. Fruit is a great option to help curb that afternoon sweet tooth. The natural sugars in fruit are much better for your little one’s growing body that he/she can use for sustainable energy.
Whether he eats the apple or not seems dependent on his mood at the time (big sigh). In hopes of getting my son to eat apples in a different way, I decided to try something new and made apple chips. These are crunchy, healthy, and super easy! Apple chips can also be a great substitute for potato chips or other less than optimal snacks.
Slice thin apple pieces, place on a baking sheet, and bake at 250 F for 2-4 hours; cinnamon optional.
About the Author
Hey Everyone! I’m Kayla, I am honored and privileged to have this opportunity to write for Eat Right Mama! I’m a stay at home mom to a 2.5 year old, a military spouse, and currently working towards obtaining credentials as a Registered Dietitian.
I’d like to share some of my experiences and hopefully encourage (future and/or present) mamas that healthy eating is possible for you and your littles. I also realize we are all different and some things that work for me, might not work for you and that’s totally okay! Every child is different and that’s the beauty of it.