I’ve had this come up a pretty frequent amount recently. It’s hard living as a natural minded parent in society these days to bring up healthy eating habits and I have many people ask me how I get my kids to eat healthy whole foods. Ill start by saying, its starts with in the womb and breastfeeding. This is in no way a knock on formula (although formula is loaded with GMOs and sugars, check the ingredients), this is to state facts about breastfeeding and the most important fact of the importance of breastfeeding and beginning foods is that over time baby can actually taste in your breast milk what you’ve been eating so this introduces flavor before starting solids, same goes for in the womb. So start your healthy eating habits during pregnancy. Next, when beginning solids do not start with rice cereals or grains, these are empty calories, loaded with sugar and high in arsenic. Im honestly unsure why its on the shelves for sales to babies, you have to love the FDA. So no grains? What should we start our babies on? REAL FOOD. No cereal, no snacks, no puffs. organic or not, these things are processed and while we once allowed our children to snack on these, such as puffs. They are processed regardless of an organic label with synthetic vitamins and nutrients. I found avocado to be a hit, which is an amazing first food. Its soft, loaded with nutrients and a good healthy fat, what your baby needs to help their growing brain and body. Other great first foods is steaming things like pears & apples. I always find that each mother finds what they are comfortable with so what I feed my children can look totally different from yours. There’s a lot of trial and error but keep offering a wide range of food, raw and cooked different ways. Remember, gagging is a normal reflex, babies gag reflexes are on the front of the tongue so it makes it very easy to gag. Gagging and choking are two different things, know the difference.
plate by re-play recycle can be found HERE. We love te-play recycle sectioned plates. We thinks its so cool they are made by recycle milk jugs and we love all the different colors!
Next, offer a wide range of different things, even if you do and don’t eat it. I was feeding my children avocado well before I ever took a liking to it. If its a real whole food and you trust your childs eating capabilities, offer it to them. Now, you need to remember when it comes to the toddler years we are trying to instill healthy eating habits so we must prepare ourselves to say no and redirect to a healthier option. Its not always going to be fun, don’t give up. You are path-ing the way for them to make their own healthy choices. Such as when they are out, instead of asking for junk snacks (goldfish, chips, candy, popsicles, etc) they will be asking for healthy things like bananas, apples, grapes, etc.. We want them to WANT these foods. Otherwise when our kids are older they wont understand what healthy eating habits are and they will pick and eat whatever they’ve been allowed. Now, it is very important that when your child asks for something that you don’t approve of, don’t just say NO. Prepare to explain why and redirect towards a healthier option and guide them on making healthy eating choices.
We are surrounded in a world of convenience but convenience doesn’t mean healthy and we want healthy happy children who WANTS to eat healthy foods.. Nutrition can be linked to so many different behavioral and health concerns such as diabetes, SPD, ADHD, ADD. We see how are children are effected by ingredients like High fructose corn syrup, food dyes, salt and refined sugars. They don’t have the knowledge, we do. It is our job as parents, to begin young. You eat junk? Change your ways! Parents have the most influence on the eating behaviors of our children in their early years. We are our children’s biggest example, where we lead they follow and I would hope that if you’re reading this, you care about your own health as well to make healthy choices and lay down that path for your young ones who aren’t just ready to make those choices on their own.
Spend time letting your toddler help you cook, not only are you teaching life skills but its also very likely a child will eat what they’ve helped make. This is also a great bonding, in my last post I talked about cooking and eating with your husband to help reconnect and engage. This is another wonderful and healthy way to bond!
I don’t believe that our bodies are meant to digest and process processed foods properly and they lack in nutrition. I don’t believe in “let kids be kids” when it comes to health and nutrition. They are still kids and still able to be kids, Offering your children healthy food choices does not deter your child from not being a child. Your only deterring healthy eating habits and nutrition. Take strawberries for example, they are sweet. Whats the difference between giving our child a fresh strawberry to giving them fruit snacks? NUTRITION. nutrition is the difference. One adds benefits and the other lacks.
Now its not going to be easy for everyone to just stop what they are doing and change what they eat entirely, its a slow and gradual process but I deeply urge you to gain this desire and to change your own life and your childs in the process. My goal is to raise HEALTHY children, who make healthy choices in life because they know the outcome. The enjoyment of junk food and processed food is monetary, the benefit of having a diet loaded with whole foods, positively effects the quality of your life. I would hope those are sacrifices and choices you would want to make for yourself and your children.
This post isn’t to judge, its to spread awareness and truth.
So tell me, what are some changes you could make to help your child live a life filled with nutrition? whats your childs current favorite whole food?
Light & Love,