Toddler Nutrition: Trying to Get Your Child To Love Mr. Carrot and Ms. Apple
Does your child love Mr. Carrot and Ms. Apple? If so, they must have rosy cheeks and very bright eyes.
Getting toddlers to love healthy food takes a lot of effort for parents. While Mr. Carrot says he brightens the skin by producing beta carotene and strengthens the eyes due to its Vitamin A content, your child may not even want to consider being friends with him.
What about Ms. Apple? Surely, if your child eats her often, visits to Dr. House would be very seldom to none at all.
But, how can you get your child to eat them?
Toddlers’ and Food
“The Go, Grow and Glow Concept”
Toddlers’ bodies are still undergoing development and so they need the highest amounts of nutrients to maximize their growth potential. This means that they should at least have a balanced and an adequate intake of each of the three food groups – go, grow and glow.
Your child needs to consume three meals per day with two snacks in between. You also don’t have to worry about what type of food they should eat since they can eat whatever the family eats.
As the basic toddler nutrition rule goes, there are foods from the food groups that should be eaten by your child.
“Grow” group – fish, meat, poultry and eggs, milk and dairy products
“Glow” group – fruits and vegetables
“Go” group – cereals, rice products
What if your child doesn’t consume any of these food groups? Should you call the diet police? No. Give your child time to “get to know” the food he or she eats. The more you pressure your child, the more your child will object to you.
Picky eating is common among toddlers since they have developed food preferences by this stage. This, however, is not a constant issue that you will have to deal with every meal, every day. Your child might have developed a preference for one or two specific foods and he or she might like it today and might not like it tomorrow. This is normal though.
Give them time to adjust to the different foods that you offer them to eat. You may also try offering him finger foods such as baby carrot sticks or celery to encourage them to eat healthier and greener. Just make sure they are just about the right size enough for your child to chew.
By now, your little one has started to learn self-feeding. No more “here comes the airplane” dramas on the table because he or she can feed themselves. Just don’t forget the paper towel because it will be your best friend in cleaning up spilled juice, splashed mashed potatoes and thrown peas on the table, floor or nearest object.
Toddlers and Snacks
By the time your child reaches the age of three, his or her appetite would have already been balanced. By this time, they have already learned the relationship between their small tummy and Mr. Carrot. This is where the topic on snacks comes in.
You may give your child a colourful plate of apples, oranges, grapes and strawberries.
Cooked potatoes that are diced are better than French fries.
Healthy wheat bread can be served as well along with a slice of cheese and a small portion of fish like tuna. Put it into a mold and make that sandwich smile back to your child. Oh, smiley is so yummy, mommy!
Peanut butter and jelly on bread is also good for dessert. Just keep all portions small to avoid choking.
Don’t forget the milk. It still is a bone-builder but should be limited to about a liter a day as too much calcium can actually decrease iron levels in the body.
Patience, Parent (& One More Tip!)
One more thing to remember is to have patience when your child is eating. Let him or her feed them self as much as possible without you supervising. This will enhance their ability to care for tehmself at a young age.
Also, always ask questions, “what would you like for dinner?”. This encourages them to eat better and gives them a sense of warmth and belongingness.
Another trick, you can even ask him to prepare the meal with you! It would indeed be a fun activity to get your child involved with the household tasks and then it doesn’t seem as though the food is just shuvved down their mouth.
Lastly, keep everything healthy as much as possible. Remember that your child’s body still needs a whole lot of nutrients and vitamins to enhance their growth and development. Don’t limit to one food group, eat variety.