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  • Having Problems Feeding Your Toddler Healthy Food? These Tips Can Help

    Eating is one of the first areas that toddlers will master, according to experts.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
Having Problems Feeding Your Toddler Healthy Food? These Tips Can Help
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  • As your child completes his or her first year, he or she learns to navigate his or her own world, as well as communicate and control some parts of their lives. These include what and how they want to eat. You just have to be there to provide healthy food for toddlers.

    This stage is a "wild adventure" for parents, says holistic nutrition coach Renee Rose Rodrigo in an article she's written for SmartParenting.com.ph. "Because, as wonderful as it is to see our baby be curious about food, it can be overwhelming once you’re at the grocery store. You don’t know what on earth to buy, let alone how much to feed your baby!"

    How to ensure healthy food for toddlers

    Eating is one of the first areas that toddlers will master taking control over, according to experts at Nemours Children's Health. They add that parents can help children enjoy this limited power by giving "appropriate amounts of freedom when it comes to choosing foods and eating them."

    Provide the kinds of food that an active toddler needs

    Giving your child healthy food choices and letting him or her choose is a good way to steer your toddler towards healthy eating. Choices should be in line with balanced diet and the 3 G's of healthy food: Go, Grow, and Glow. (Read here about the healthy food for kids.)

    Experts point out, though, to be ready for probable resistence and anticipate possible problems along the way. Keep in mind also that toddlers are moving forward to having a diet like adults. So continue introducing new flavors and textures to help your child develop a taste for healthy foods at this point when their food preferences are still being set. 

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    Address your child's tendency to be a picky eater

    If your toddler is one of the typical ones, he or she may express their budding independence through eating, or not eating at all. If, for instance, he or she only want one certain dish every day, you don't have to give in to his or her whim.

    Otherwise, you will lose the opportunity to introduce new foods and increase the number of those your child is willing to eat. (Read here for tips dealing with picky eaters.)

    Avoid bargaining for bites

    While it's tempting to use bargaining tactics, experts say, they eventually lose their power. If you tell your toddler to eat a few more bites of veggies in exchange for a cookie, for instance, you'll end up giving more unhealthy rather than healthy food. The same goes if you threaten to punish your child for not eating a few more bites of veggies.

    Experts point out, "To encourage healthy eating, continue offering your child an array of nutritious choices — and keep the mealtime mood upbeat." Bear in mind also that toddlers have small tummies, so serve foods that are packed with the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong, and limit sweets and empty calories.

    Let your child feed him or herself

    Children typically start finger feeding when they turn nine months old and using utensils from 15 to 18 months old. By that time, provide opportunities for your child to practice using the utensils and eating by him or herself. This will also encourage and empower them to eat.

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    Take cues from your child's actions

    Toddlers may not articulate what they want, but they can show it through their actions. For instance, if your child starts building a tower of crackers or dropping carrot pieces on the floor, he or she may be telling you that he or she is already full. 

    What to prepare healthy food for toddlers

    Holistic nutrition coach Renee Rose Rodrigo has created a basic list of three different meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time (read here). She says you can use those menus as a tool to help you expand and recreate some meals to provide the ultimate food journey for your child.

    Just a few reminders in preparing healthy food for toddlers: "Keep in mind vegetables should ideally be served at every meal. Fruit should be a must as well, but sometimes your baby has no more room for it. When that happens, snack time is prime time for a good serving of fruit!" (Read here for more toddler meal ideas.)

    What other parents are reading

Smart Parenting is now on Quento! You will love it because it personalizes news and videos based on your interests. Download the app here!

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