As a mom, I think we all worry about whether our kids are getting the proper nutrition. I remember even during those first few weeks when my babies were first born, I would constantly worry about whether they were getting enough milk to gain her birth weight back in time and if I was providing the enough to help them grow and develop. Now that my little ones are a little older at 3 and 1 year old and eating on their own, I want to make sure that they’re getting enough variety and learning how to make good decisions when mealtime comes around. Needless to say, it’s easier said than done!
Toddlers can be picky and have a palette that is fickle, to say the least — what was “yum!” just hours ago is now nothing short of a vehement “yuck!”. Since I know the struggle all too well, I wanted to share my own tips for how I make sure my kids are getting all the nutrients they need (without it becoming a daily battle!).
Have them help in the kitchen. Food always tastes better when you make it, doesn’t it? I started having Dylan help me in the kitchen once he was able to follow simple directions and provided him with simple tools that he could use to help prepare meals and snacks with me. While his attention for cooking has ebbed and flowed (there were a few months when he just wasn’t interested at all), I didn’t pressure him but continued to try and find different tasks he might enjoy to spark his curiosity. I made sure to allocate extra time when preparing meals with Dylan’s help and kept it fun and playful. I love when Dylan sees the result of his hard work and he’s been much more likely to give different and new foods a try (even if it’s vegetables!).
Make healthier alternatives to traditional treats. For those times we do enjoy treats at home, I try to have healthier alternatives available whenever possible. We’ll add kale into smoothies, make brownies using black beans, and use spiralized zucchini instead of carb-heavy pasta. My kids don’t even notice the difference and I’m glad that the entire family can enjoy a healthier food option.
Be the example. Kids are literally always watching. We have a “just one bite” policy in our home where we always take one bite of everything just so we know that we gave it a fair chance. I actually distinctly remember the time I said that I didn’t like collard greens and Dylan reminded me that I needed to try one bite again! I strongly believe that healthy habits start at home and both Adrian and I make a concerted effort to practice what we preach.
Have vitamins fill in the gaps. And because it’s always nice to have a little insurance, we all take multivitamins just to cover the nutrients that we may not have gotten naturally from food. Olly Kids recently released a vitamin line and I just love that each one is created with a different goal – Super Brainy, Growing Bones, Happy Tummy, and Mighty Immunity.
Dylan looks forward to picking out his vitamin every morning (so much that he even goes to bed thinking about it!) and it’s a nice way for him to feel empowered about his health. I love that it makes him take a moment to pause and check in with his body and determine what it needs that day.
Fuel the body to unleash the inner superhero! I’ve always lived by the mantra that if you feed your body well, your body will treat you well. For kids, it can be explained as feeding the body food that will bring out the inner superhero! We don’t label food as good or bad, but instead, I focus on having my kids tune into how different foods make their body feel. When my son might complain of a tummy ache, we sit down and think through the different foods he may have eaten to cause the issue. My hope is that the natural feedback process from the body will let my kids learn that fueling it with the right foods with help them feel better and do better!
Olly Kids is having an incredible giveaway right now where you can win a year supply of yummy gummy vitamins plus gift cards to Tea Collection, Target, and Starbucks. Be sure to enter for your chance to win!
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Thank you to Olly for partnering on this post!