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Teaching Toddlers About Good Nutrition

>> Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Photo via HERE
One thing I’ve learned as a Mom is that getting your toddlers to eat healthy is an uphill battle. From my experience, it doesn’t matter how much healthy food you set in front of them, they are always going to prefer pizza and chicken nuggets. Being raised in a family with 9 kids, we always ate casseroles and soups. Our palettes didn’t get a lot of variety, and we weren’t really taught about nutrition. We ate what was in front of us. I did not want my kids raised this same way. I want them to know what seafood, fresh artichoke, and quinoa taste like. The struggle though, is actually getting them to taste the variety of goodness set in front of them.

I love vegetables. All vegetables. But I haven’t always been that way. It took a lot of forcing myself to eat what my mouth hated, but my body craved. I wanted my kids to feel the same way about vegetables. My pediatrician told me that it takes children 7-10 times of eating something they don’t like before they learn to like it. Their taste buds are growing and developing just as their little bodies are.

Photo via HERE

I did 2 very distinct things with my children to encourage them to eat healthier. The first was to sit down with my boys and have a conversation about how we don’t just eat food because it tastes good. We eat food because it provides our bodies with energy and nutrients. Sometimes we have to eat things our mouths don’t like because they make our bodies healthy and strong. This seemed to really resonate with them, and it definitely made a difference. The 2nd thing I did is I always incorporate a lot of vegetables into meals. I make a lot of stir fry and pasta primavera. I’ll throw in 8 to 10 vegetables per meal, even if it’s just small amounts. I allow my boys to pick one vegetable each that they pick out, and they have to eat the rest. I taught them that instead of picking out each vegetable and eating it by itself, if you eat everything all together, it has really good flavor!

Making nutrition a priority in our home has definitely been a challenge, but it has more than paid off. My kids love eating fruits and vegetables, and that is something that will stick with them through their lives.

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