I feel pretty fortunate in that Grace is a relatively healthy eater with no big effort on our part (I mean, really, what 2 year old just asks for hummus as a snack). But I say that and realize I have been pretty intentional with our approach to food with her since day one, so I thought I’d share a few of the ways we’ve gotten our toddler to eat healthy in hopes that it helps some of you other mamas who are struggling.
And let me just put this disclaimer out there too (should the universe or my two year old be listening and decide to challenge me)…I know kids are picky, they go through phases, and their tastes change. I remember being told a time or two a story on myself when I refused to eat my veggies because I wasn’t in a “green or orange or yellow mood.” So I’m sharing what’s working for us now in hopes that it keeps working and sheds a little light on the subject of healthy eating for kids.
Tips for Getting Your Toddler to Eat Healthy
Another disclaimer, I say toddler here because that’s the stage we’re in, so that is where I have experience. But I have faith that these suggestions will help no matter what stage you’re in with your kiddos if you’re consistent, firm, and loving in your approach.
1. Set the example.
I’ve shared before that one of my primary goals in eating healthy is helping Grace build healthy habits herself. So I do my best to model making healthy food choices for Grace. Not only that, but we also sit down and eat together – often the same things – as much as we can. (I want to be a mom who asks her child to do what she says AND what she does, so this one is super important to me.)
2. Give them options.
Having an element of choice is also big for toddlers (especially mine), or kids of any age for that matter. It gives them more of a sense of ownership (and yes, control), and since I want Grace to adopt healthy habits as her own, I’m okay with giving up a little of that control. One way we’ve made a habit of giving her options is allowing her to choose new fruits and veggies to try when we go to the store. I also try to fill her plate with servings of foods from different food groups, including at least one that I know she’ll eat at each meal.
3. Include them in the process.
Getting them involved in the process of making healthy food is another fun way to help kids take ownership and learn to eat healthy. I recently started including Grace in more of my baking endeavors. While some are more successful than others, she’s loving the fun, and I’m loving that we’re making memories together while we learn important life skills. (Check out the end of this post for a fun recipe to try with your little ones!)
4. Make it fun.
One of my friends makes these adorable little scenes or pictures out of her daughters’ meals to get them more interested in eating healthy, and it’s been a real winner for everyone. I can’t say I’ve done this one a lot because, well…I haven’t had to, and I’m just not that creative. But what kid doesn’t want permission to play with his or her food? I think Grace would even love it if I gave her some different shaped foods and let her create pictures with them.
5. Use fun plates, cups, and utensils.
Along the same lines as #4 above, having kid-friendly plates, cups, and utensils is another way to keep meal time fun and personal. (Again with that ownership thing.) We recently found these adorable Cheeky Kids sets with plates, bowls, cups, and utensils, and Grace is absolutely loving hers! (And I love that they’re not only cute and easy to clean, but they also support a good cause!)
A Fun, Healthy Kid-Friendly Recipe
In my attempt at baking more with Grace, I came across this recipe from a fellow mama and friend (who is amazing with healthy and kid-friendly meal prep), so I decided we had to try it! I tweaked the recipe a bit because I didn’t have almond flour on hand, but I loved my version so much, I had to share it too!
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil
- 7 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- 6 eggs
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoons sea salt
- Chocolate chips to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare muffin tin with liners or grease with coconut oil. (I used oil.)
- In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk.
- In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and stir well.
- Add dry ingredients into wet and stir until mixed through.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Garnish with melted chocolate chips or eat as is.
Okay, so I splurged a little and topped ours with some melted marshmallows too, but they were SO good even just on their own! And how cute would they be made up in little mugs for a winter birthday or Valentine’s Day celebration?!
So there you have it. My tips for getting kids to eat healthy plus a fun recipe you can try together! Now I want to hear your tips. How have you been able (or at least tried) to get your kids to eat healthy? And for more recipe ideas, fitness tips, and inspiration, join our FREE Living Contently Wellness Community here!