Congratulations on making a life-giving choice to start your child on the path to a lifetime of healthy eating habits! 🙂 It isn’t always easy to help your child eat healthy foods. But, nothing about raising kids is easy these days, right?
So, you read How To Help My Child (Toddler?!) to Eat Healthy Foods – part 1. You’re committed to helping your child eat healthy foods.
Here’s the quick list of 4 things you’ll need to get started…
1. A high-quality blender/food processor (if you wish to purée baby food Super Baby Food-style)
2. Containers, containers, containers (optional: ice cube trays if you’re making baby food Super Baby Food-style)
3. 1-2 hours per week – to prepare enough healthy foods to have on-hand and ready-to-serve for the whole week
Take the Stress Out of Offering New Foods to Your Child
Now, let’s do a bit of guided imagery here…
– Bring to mind a list of the healthiest fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and dairy products. Imagine your child not only eating these foods, but enjoying them and choosing to eat them on a regular basis.
– Now, jot down the foods you see in your mind’s eye.
– Put an asterisk next to the foods on your list your child already eats. Great work! Continue offering these healthy foods to your child.
For the foods you listed which do not (yet!) have an asterisk, see below for an easy plan for getting them into your child’s diet.
Here’s where I refer you to the experts who’ve done extensive research on this topic. These excellent authors offer resources which will guide you on the best ways to offer solid foods to your child. Doing a bit of reading/research will give you the best possible start and alleviate a ton of stress.
1. Ruth Yaron, Super Baby Food – Super Baby Food – A huge Thank You to Ruth and her Team over at Super Baby Food for permission to reference your amazing book and techniques here. 🙂 Ruth Yaron also supports Baby-led weaning here.
2. Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, “Baby-led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods-and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater” (book) and Baby Led Weaning website.
A Step-By-Step Plan
For the foods you listed above which do not (yet!) have an asterisk, here’s a step-by-step plan for getting them into your child’s diet.
1. Cycle your child’s favorite foods into meals or snacks every 2-3 days.
Even a small portion – our Pediatrician’s guideline is a Dixie cup-sized portion – is enough to get those good nutrients into that beautiful, ever-growing body.
2. Introduce no more than 1-2 new foods every 4-5 days.
Why? If your child has an allergic reaction, you’ll be able to quickly identify which food caused the allergy. Intermingle new foods with your child’s time-tested favorite foods. It will increase your chances of success.
3. Eat the new, healthy foods you’re introducing along with your child.
I know – I loathe green peas and cantaloupe, too. But I sucked it up and for the betterment of my child’s health, and ate them whenever I served them to her until she enjoyed them. I put on a delighted-to-be-sharing-with-you face, made lots of “this is so yummy!” sounds, and made it a party. Yes, I still turned away and grimaced out of her sight. C’mon, I’m not a freakin’ Saint! I don’t eat them anymore, but she sure does!
Tips for Success
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, (and try, and try…) again.
Remember the research I shared in Part 1? Up to 14 attempts, friends. See also 1. and 2. above.
- Always keep the healthy foods you want for your child on-hand and prepared.
You know how impatient you get when you crave a particular food, and you can’t have it? Multiply that x25, and this is how your child feels when you say, “Oh, sorry Honey. I don’t have any right now.” You know how kids are – they want things this instant. Increase your chances for success by making a list once a week, shopping for those items, and having them on-hand. Trust me – you’ll see patterns and find a balance within a month.
- Eliminate junk and “filler” foods from your cupboards.
Our success is largely due to having so few options for not-so-healthy foods in our home. Our logic: if we don’t buy it, we won’t reach for it. Make a firm commitment to your child’s (and your own) health by keeping not-so-healthy foods off your shelves. If you have a craving, by all means indulge it – at a restaurant, party or other venue. But keep your family on the Healthy Eating Path by assuring all foods and snacks in your house are healthy options. You’ll be shocked at how ap-peal-ing oranges, carrot sticks and pepper strips look when they’re the only available options.
I wouldn’t be giving you good advice if I didn’t do my best to set you up for success. Feel free to contact me via email with any questions or clarifications. I’m happy to share! And let’s hear more success stories in Comments!
Happy healthy eating friends! I look forward to hearing your stories and shared advice on this topic.
Disclosure: The information and material contained in this post are presented for educational purposes and are informational in nature only. Statements and opinions expressed in this post are those of Beloved Atmosphere only and should not be considered facts. While the information and materials presented are believed to be accurate, they are not intended to replace or substitute professional medical advice or care, and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health care problem or disease or for prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your baby’s or your physical or mental health, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.