WOW! It has been two years that I have been posting recipes and random information at Squash Blossom Babies! I hope you have enjoyed the recipes! This has been such a great way for me to share recipes, keep myself motivated to make healthy food and hopefully inspire you to make some yummy goodness, too! Today I’m going to focus on why I started this blog….healthy food for my baby and for my family.
That baby has quickly turned from squirmy infant to messy toddler to opinionated preschooler! I’m going to share some tips on how to raise an adventurous eater and get those much needed veggies in your wee tots’ tummy!
- Your children are watching you! If you don’t eat the broccoli on your plate then why should they? If you reach for potato chips instead of an apple, so will they. If you try new foods, then your kids are much more likely to give it a try.
- Start early. When you start introducing food to your baby make sure that you are offering a variety of flavors and textures.
- Keep mixing it up. Once you find something they love…don’t stop there. It is very easy to get in a rut of offering the same thing for the simple fact that your kid will happily eat it. BUT try not to do this. Yes, your strong-willed picky eater WILL put up a fight. But this is a battle worth fighting.
- Don’t give in. Some people don’t like this but at my house what’s for dinner is what’s for dinner. There is no making a special meal because someone doesn’t like what’s for dinner. With that said Ava is only 2 1/2 and I’m not in the starvation business; so if we are trying something funky, I will make sure that we have something on our plates that I know she will eat.
- Plan ahead. Your little one is not very likely to try new foods when they are over tired and super hungry. So when you are on vacation, your child missed nap time and is eating dinner an hour late….don’t expect to see an adventurous eater! Lunchtime is a great time to offer up new foods and usually kiddos are feeling pretty good this early in the day.
- You have to try it. This is critical!!!! Ava must try everything on her plate, at least one bite. And if she doesn’t like it, that’s okay. She doesn’t have to love everything but she does have to try it. Otherwise how will she know if she does or doesn’t like a certain food. By the way, she almost always likes it.
- Make it fun! Get cute silverware, sing a song about what you are eating, make airplane sounds as the fork “takes off” from the plate and nose dives into your little one’s mouth.
- Dip it. Offer up some healthy dips to go along with your dinner. You can get healthy yogurt-based ranch dip, ketchup and bbq sauce without corn syrup.
- Sneak in veggies. Add pureed veggies to all kinds of dishes. Soup broths, smoothies, macaroni and cheese and even spaghetti and meatballs.
- Make a deal. We have lots of negotiations at our dining room table. ”Eat two more bites of broccoli and then you can have more cheese.” I know there are some people that cringe regarding this subject, but I’m a Mom following my mom-tuition and it just makes sense for us. NOTE: very rarely do we offer dessert or sweets as a “reward” for eating all of her food. Studies show that you should let your child determine when they are full. Plus if dessert is always offered as the best part it could increase your child’s desire for sweets.
- Let your kids get involved at the grocery store/market. If you give your child an option, “do you want a red pepper or a green pepper”, it gives them some ownership in their food and in the meal.
- Let your kids get involved in the kitchen. Yes, it’s going to be messier and take longer to cook dinner, BUT I can’t tell you how many times Ava has chowed down on food just because she helped me make it.
That sums up my tips. Remember it’s up to us as parents to help shape our children’s eating habits Start them off on a path to healthy adventuresome foods!