What we feed our children doesn’t only impact their health now, it will impact their health all the way into adulthood – so trying to set up healthy habits from a young age makes it easier for the kiddos to maintain these habits later on (or at least that’s the plan!).
Here are 6 easy tips to make feeding your toddler easier!
Tip 1: Keep mealtimes enjoyable! Mealtimes that are a relaxed family affair, help children develop a positive attitude towards food and eating. Children mimic their parents; you showing a good attitude, helps your child nurture a good attitude.
Tip 2: Never force your child to eat – they will eat when they are hungry. Children who are forced to eat until they have finished their meal never learn what it feels like to be full. Their satiety factor drops making it easier for them to eat to excess. This can also happen in children who are rewarded with food.
Tip 3: This tip goes with tip 2 – don’t allow your child to influence you into giving them what they want to eat. For example if your child refuses a family meal, remove the meal but don’t offer a replacement. If they come back asking for food later on, give them the same meal that they refused to eat back. If the same things happens just remove the plate again. Eventually your child will eat the meal (if they are hungry) or they will go without. (Remember your child won’t starve themselves, they will eat when they are hungry).
Tip 4: Make meals interesting, offering a variety of shapes, colours, textures and tastes. This promotes children to learn about different foods and enjoy a larger variety of foods. Children enjoy participating – allow them to take part in the shopping, food preparation and cooking of meals. They are more likely to try something that they have made, than what has just been out down in front of them.
Tip 5: Encourage finger-foods and self-feeding! Especially at snack times.
Tip 6: Watch your portion size. Remember your child’s stomach is a lot smaller than yours, so put smaller servings on the plate and then if they want more afterwards, they can have. Often we serve up too much and this initial shock of how much we want our children to eat will put them off the meal.