5 Tips for Raising Healthly and Adventurous Eaters (Guest Blog)

5 Nov
Hi there! My name is Kayla and I blog over at www.fitformoms.com/blog . My blog focuses on health and wellness for moms and their growing families, offering support, advice, tips and inspiration. I am wife to Brent and mom to Audrey (3) and Mari (14 months) and our yellow lab fur child, Moab. My “real” job is in public health, but I am passionate about maternal and child health as well as fitness, thus…Fit for Moms was born.

Jessica and I played high school soccer together back in the day. Now that we’re both busy bloggers, we decided to swap guest posts for each other. She just featured some awesome recipes on my blog here (http://www.fitformoms.com/blog/2012/10/30/clean-eating-recipes-from-bay-bay-bites/).

As a mom to two young girls, I am very focused on creating sound and healthy habits that will carry through their lives. I know that the foods they eat (and enjoy) now will truly lay the foundations for a life of good eating. In this post I will share 5 tips to provide your youngsters with the best start you can when it comes to their eating habits.

When Audrey was a baby and approaching the age to start eating solid food, I did A LOT of reading on the best first foods to offer your baby. As with many things when you are a parent, there is conflicting information out there. Some pediatricians will tell you to offer rice cereal first, but otherswill tell you to skip the cereal and instead offer something like mashed avocado, banana or sweet potato first. Our pediatrician was very much on the anti-rice cereal wagon. This made a huge difference for us!

Tip 1: Find a pediatrician who is on the same page as you!

Personal preference…I made all of the food my kids ate (and still do). I found baby food prep to be relaxing and a great way to show the girls my love for cooking. Audrey (and eventually Mari) started out with sweet potatoes and then we kept introducing a new food (only fruits or veggies) each week. We based the foods off of this chart. (In fact we absolutely love this whole website). What we loved about this was the variety they were being exposed to.

Tip 2: Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean your baby won’t! Offer them a wide range of fruits and veggies – you may even surprise yourself and enjoy something new. (Example: I love parsnips…who knew??)

As soon as the girls were ready to try to pick up their food, we steamed veggies from our farm share and let them dig in.

Tip 3: Let them get messy and really explore food. They build self-confidence and start to really decide what they enjoy to eat!

One of the greatest things I learned from our pediatrician is that toddlers will self-regulate. Studies have been done that prove that if you place a toddler in a room with a tray of healthy foods, they will literally eat what their bodies need. One day they’ll chow down on the citrus to get Vitamin C, the next day avocados for healthy fats and some days they will graze over the entire selection.

Tip 4: Don’t worry if your kid(s) don’t eat their whole meal. They will eat what they need! Offer them healthy choices and let them make up their mind on how much they need to eat.

Because of that, we actually have a tradition of eating out of muffin tins one night every other week. I call it our “Muffin Tin Monday”dinner. I fill each slot with healthy choices and let the girls just eat what they want. If they finish and want more, I let them pick which healthy food they want more of.

Neither of our girls had sugar until their first birthday (again personal preference) – when they got to try cake for the first time….

But, as Audrey has gotten older, she has been exposed to certain sweet treats.  A common question in our house is “Momma? Since I ate lots of healthy food today can I have a treat?” The answer is usually yes.

Tip 5: Treats are okay…in moderation.

The biggest thing of all when it comes to kids and food…you know what is best! As a parent, you will find what works for you. What works for me…well, it may not be the best fit for your family. And vice versa! So with all of these tips, please take them and use them if you wish. They are just my experience and my family’s choices.

Wishing you happy, healthy and adventurous eating!

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