I get lots of questions from parents, especially the parents of children that attend my daycare, on how I get little ones to eat all the strange foods that they are not accustomed to.
Cooking, mealtimes, healthy food and everything that happens in the kitchen is a big part of my program, it’s basically the reason my program was created. My goal is to give the little ones a healthy and happy beginning to their life. I would say that some of the kids that joined my daycare when they were about 4-6 months up until now ( 2 years old ) have never had a single cold, case of pink eye, ear infection etc… just to name a few. Food really plays a huge part in the health and well-being of our children.
A daycare, where a child spends nine hours a day and five days a week, should be, as much as possible, like a home away from home in most respects. If your child attends a daycare for the first three years of their life being fed junk and highly processed foods — then they are Definitely set for a “not so healthy” start.
I don’t know about you but, as a mother and childcare provider, the state of our kids’ health greatly concerns me.
7 TIPS ON FEEDING TODDLERS – FROM A HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST
- Serve a variety of food and texture: Never assume that they hate something if they don’t get to try it. Some of the kids would not taste something on Monday and then scream they love it on Friday.
- Offer the same food in multiple ways: For example, my kiddos love grilled cauliflower with coconut oil, seasoned with black pepper, turmeric and sea salt. They probably wouldn’t eat it if not for the yellow color. Kids generally seem to love eating the rainbow.
- Figure out their favorite foods: Toddlers go through phases where they like certain foods and dislike others. My own toddler, for example, loves sweet potatoes, but I try to throw in some other veggies to roast in the oven along with the sweet potatoes. Over time, she progressed from just looking at them, to touching them, and finally tasting them.
- Lead by example: One of the first things I like to tell parents when they tour my program is, we sit with your kids and we eat as a family. I tried creating a special menu for the kids and found out that this is not something that aligns with my belief that daycare should, in many ways, be a “home away from home”. I do meal plan, but basically I cook one big meal for everyone. The ingredients that go in my cooking are those I believe to be healthy and needed for everyone, so this is just the way I will be doing it. One more trick, take a taste yourself and tell them how delicious it is and have them take taste.
- Make their plates look inviting and delicious: My husband always makes fun of me, saying I am a perfectionist and that the kiddos will make a mess with the food anyway, but I really love for things to look perfect on the table before I set them down. From the color of the plates, to their cups, to the serving board etc…I like things to look perfect because, personally, I enjoy food much more if the presentation is attractive.
- Don’t miss an opportunity to sneak something they think they don’t like into something they love: Homemade muffins, for example, are one of our favorite snacks here in my daycare (both savory and sweet). I don’t know of many things that can’t be incorporated (disguised) in muffins. hahaha. I sneak all sorts of micronutrients, booster foods, veggies etc… in our muffins, and it all goes down to their little tummies without any problem. All our baked goods are, of course, sugar-free and most of the time gluten-free.Checkout this recipe.
- Invite them to cook with you: I start inviting kids into the kitchen as soon as they start walking. Some of the kids started cooking with me as early as 12 months of age and now, at almost 3 years old, they are like pros. If you are local, and would like to check out our cooking classes, please click here.
These tips have worked for my own children and the ones that attend my program. I can proudly say that they eat almost every vegetable, every meat including organ meats, all dairy including homemade plain kefir, etc…
If you have any tips you would like to share with me, please do not hesitate to put them in a comment.
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