Have you ever found yourself agreeing to the “Terrible Two” concept? Maybe, you are facing such a terrible phase in your parenting life where your toddler just keeps on running around, chatting until your energy drops, making a mess on the table during meal times, or refusing to eat what you offer her. The toddler stage is really one of the most trying times of your parenting journey because it is when your child would explore more of her surroundings.
Since your child would be extremely active during this stage, you will have to nourish her with the age-appropriate meals and snacks. However, you also have to start training her on the right eating habits that she must remember until she grows up.
Here are the best ways to promote good eating habits for your toddler:
- Let the greens and the colorful fruits be a constant.
Do you know that you can actually train your child’s taste buds? Yup, that is exactly right! Why do you think Korean kids become easily trained to eat their local staple, kimchi? That’s particularly because the culinary tradition of a family affects the taste preference of the child.
If you want your child to be healthy, then you will have to keep the greens and the colorful fruits as a constant part of your dining table. Even when they seem to be refusing the vegetables and fruits at first, do you think that they would still be able to reject them when they’re already hungry? I don’t think so.
- Practice your creative culinary skills.
If you want your meals to be more exciting, there are cool ways to incorporate veggies and fruits in kiddie meals without being noticeable. You can add mashed carrots in a spaghetti sauce or a mashed broccoli in chicken nuggets. Expand your culinary creativity to make meal time for kids as health and as exciting as possible.
- Set a mealtime routine.
Your child has to understand that meal times are not done randomly. You may definitely explain it to her verbally, but it would be more effective and practical to simply follow a mealtime routine. It is ideal if you could set all meal times together as a family. But if your schedules do not permit, then you could at least set breakfast and dinner together.
- Understand and respond to your child’s hunger cues.
You surely do not want your child to be hungry just because she has to wait for the exact mealtime. Learn to know your child’s hunger cues. Observe her facial expressions, body actions, and verbal phrases before and after she eats. This way, you can start to gain understanding of her hunger cues.
It is also important not to force your child to finish eating her meals when her tummy is already full. The practice of forcibly letting your child to eat can be traumatic to your toddler. Your child has to be excited about food and never fearful of mealtimes.
- Give your toddler her own set of utensils.
Giving your child her own set of utensils can make her become aware of the importance of utensils in eating. At first, she will be messy and clumsy, but you will need to be patient in teaching her how to use the spoon and fork. She may be wanting to eat with her hands, but gradually train her with the use of utensils.
- Check her milk intake.
Milk is definitely important for your toddler’s growth. However, you have to know that your child has to get most of her nutrients from real food. If your child drinks milk for more than three times a day and you notice that she barely wants to eat during mealtimes, then there could be something wrong with that practice. Limit her milk intake so that she could start appreciating what’s on your dining table.
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