Early Childhood Nutrition Tips

March 26th, 2013 watchmegrowdaycarecenter

Getting your toddler or pre-school age child to eat nutritious foods can be quite the challenge.  The following are some suggestions to get your child eating healthier and more nutritious foods.

1)      Try, Try Again – Children may have to try a food ten or more times before they accept it.  Even if your child does not care for a food at first, they still may end up liking it.  You can help by encouraging children to taste new foods. Even if in the beginning they spit it out, don’t force the child to eat it, but also don’t give up on that particular food.  Try that food again and again, and encourage your child to at least taste or try it again.  Over time, many foods that a child would not eat at first will turn to foods that they will in the end enjoy eating.  A parent’s patience in this process is an integral part of success.  Be patient.  It will pay off in the end.

2)      Colors –  A majority of the time, the more colorful the food and the more colors on your plate, the more nutritious the meal is.  Make a plate of colorful foods, as children are more likely to taste colorful foods, fruits and vegetables.

3)      Shopping –  Involve children as you food shop.  Give your child a small list of items to look for and check off as they’re found.  Challenge your child to select a new food to try, focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains or low fat dairy products.  Letting your child choose a food increases the likelihood of them trying it.  As an added bonus, allowing your child to make their own decisions helps build independence and self-esteem.

4)      Mental Preparation –  Beyond a valuable opportunity to reconnect, family meals are more likely to be nutritious.  When time allows, invite your children into the kitchen to help with meal preparation.  Preschoolers can watch what you are doing and help out with small tasks like washing food, stirring something, or setting the table.  Very young children don’t have to feel left out.  Give them empty pots, spoons or other safe utensils so they can pretend to cook, or just use the spoon and pot to “drum” a tune.

5)      Don’t Sweat It –  Don’t get overly concerned or stressed out if your child won’t eat certain foods.  Think of what you eat today that you would not eat as a young child.  As parents, we want what is best for our children but trying to force of accelerate the eating of certain foods will just add to the stress level of you and your child.  There is enough stress in today’s world that adding more over a certain food choice would be futile.

6)      Get Your Child Involved –  The earlier you get your child involved in healthy shopping, cooking and eating, the more it will become a habit that can benefit them for their entire life.

Posted by: Watch Me Grow Daycare Center

 

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