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Healthy Tips raising HEALTHY kids

Feeding a toddler can be quite challenging. No longer content to sit in the highchair, they’re little dynamos on the go! Sometimes just getting them to sit still is a challenge, let alone getting them to eat a full meal!

This is also the time when other factors will start to influence the foods your child eats. He may be offered snacks by other children or caregivers or ask for treats he sees the Big Kids eating.

There is hope. It is possible to have a toddler join you and the family at the table for an enjoyable meal time. Here are some tips: my list of the top ten rules for successful and positive mealtimes with your kids and some recipes for child-friendly meals kids will love. And of course, when there’s no time to cook, there’s always Mom Made!

Founder, Mom Made

Top Ten “Rules” for Successful and Positive Mealtimes with Your Kids
  1. Keep meals and snack times consistent and regular.
  2. Eat as a family. Model good food habits and table manners. They will follow.
  3. Sit down to eat and drink – don’t take meals on the run!
  4. Keep a distraction-free eating area - no T.V., toys, or other distractions such as cell phones, laptops, or newspapers.
  5. Provide a balance and variety of foods to keep kids interested satisfied.
  6. Empower your child to make healthy choices about what to eat and how much. They will feel empowered, for example, if you offer them the option of healthy choice #1 or healthy choice #2, such as peas or carrots.
  7. Don’t pressure your child to eat – this will backfire!
  8. Respect your child’s choices and trust their natural ability to self regulate their food intake.
  9. Set limits on age appropriate behavior at the table and stick to your boundaries.
  10. Have fun! The less you stress at mealtimes, the more fun all of you will have!

Getting on a Healthy Track
By Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD,
Mom Made Food's Dietician

Maybe the only green food your child eats is mint chocolate chip ice cream. It's easy to get frustrated when your child eats a limited diet, but it's not too late to learn new habits!

Get your children involved:
Even little ones can tear lettuce and wash fruit. Older children can stir or help with chopping things up (under your watchful eyes, of course!) . Let your child be a taste tester. Most children will try what they help prepare.

Focus on colors and flavors:
Rather than saying, "Do you like your broccoli?," ask if it was crunchy, sweet, bitter or sour. Ask what other foods are the same color. This often helps children focus beyond yummy or yucky.

Decisions, decisions:
Bring your little helper to the grocery store, and let them pick the fruit or vegetable you'll make that week. Let them choose what to have for snack. The trick is to give two good options, i.e. "Should we have apples or pears for snack?"

Slurp up veggies with soup:
Many children like veggies better as part of a soup! Adding carrots, celery and potatoes to chicken noodle soup is a start, or try a bean soup or minestrone.

Add a little extra:
Parents have been sneaking in a little extra nutrition since meatloaf was first invented. Use Mom Made® organic apple or pear purees in cake mixes instead of butter or oil. Add Mom Made® broccoli puree, pureed carrots, zucchini or spinach to spaghetti sauce.

Get growin'!
Sprout a seed or even grow a tomato plant and help your child get interested in fruits and vegetables. If you can, take a trip to a local farm for apple, pumpkin or berry picking.

What's in a name?
Goblin goop may sound more fun than sweet potatoes. Come up with your own names for new foods!

Make it fun!
Most kids like to dip their food. Let them dip broccoli, carrots, celery, sweet peppers and more into ranch dressing, sour cream dip, hummus, guacamole, mild salsa, or plain or vanilla yogurt.

Use more veggie ingredients:
Make sweet potato "fries" instead of French fries with dinner. Add butternut squash to Mac and Cheese, add corn, peppers and tomatoes to rice and beans, or let Mom Made make it easy with Mom Made™ Meals.

Have "make your own" yogurt sundaes:
Take a scoop of vanilla yogurt, and add toppings like blueberries, bananas, strawberries, pineapple or crushed graham crackers. Fresh, frozen or fruit canned in its own juices are delicious too.

Monkey see, monkey do:
Nothing makes kids want food more than seeing someone else enjoy it. Make sure you're eating your fruits and veggies, too!


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