I recently gave a presentation about raising healthy eaters at B Present Studio. The focus was on why healthy eating is important, building healthy habits and tips and tricks to get your kids to try new foods.
Following the presentation, I got some good feedback as well as some questions about WHAT to feed kids. The short and simple answer is–feed your kids what you’re eating. Seems pretty simple, right? Well we all know that sometimes our kids can whine, bargain and manipulate us into cooking them their own separate meal. I know firsthand how frustrating that can be! Unfortunately, we shouldn’t get in the habit of making special meals for our kids once they’re able to enjoy the same thing as us! For one, it’s a lot of stress and two, why reinvent the wheel when you’ve already made something?!
I understand there are still those occasions when you need to make something specifically for your kid, so I made a list of snacks and meals I give me 2 year old. Enjoy!
- pears or peaches–raw or in 100% juice (NO added sugar)
- apples–usually with a side of nut butter
- sweet peppers
- salad w/ veggies and dressing
- applesauce w/ cinnamon sprinkled on top
- sweet potato–baked as french fries, cut into cubes or as an old fashioned baked potato
- butternut squash
- eggs–organic -scrambled, over easy or an egg bake/quiche
- yogurt–organic greek **Read your label for added sugar!
- whole wheat pancakes– I make these or buy these from Whole Foods.
- Amy’s frozen meals–(lasagna, mac & cheese, ravioli)
- Nut butter–plain or as a fruit dip
- hummus –plain or as a veggie dip
- ranch in moderation **Read your labels or make your own! If you’re new to healthier ranch try this, looking for dairy free and organic try this or this. I am actually really giddy to try Primal Kitchen’s new ranch dressing-I’m silly I know.
- original cheerios
- oatmeal/baked oatmeal
- salsa with whole grain tortilla chips or as a veggie dip
- guacamole with whole grain tortilla chips or as a veggie dip
- good quality deli meat –make a meat roll up with cheese and hummus
- turkey hotdogs
- sprouted grain bread–for grilled cheese or with nut butter and banana topping
- pizza–homemade is best
- brown rice spaghetti or zoodles with meatballs
- coconut water popsicles
- Tay Tay’s banana treat–click for recipe–picture below 🙂
- almond milk
- organic dairy milk
Of course there are tons of other options but these are the things I find my daughter will try. Notice I did not say she will scarf down all of these and ask for seconds!
Also, notice I did not put goldfish or other sweet treats on here. Is it because my kid doesn’t eat these things? No! She begs for them! But I sure wish she didn’t. The reality is, she’s exposed to these foods in our home, but more frequently other people’s homes and at school. She also just came off of a week long stint of hand foot and mouth disease where she ate nothing but ice cream–sad but true. We also just moved into our new house and food choices are slim. My husband and I will have some fun breaking habits once all of our pots and pans are unpacked and we have a dining room table again.
- Kids don’t have to just eat bland foods! Remember, children in Japan are eating flavorful sushi and kids in Mexico are eating spicy salsas.
- Breaking habits can be HARD. Don’t get discouraged. Take baby steps and give you and your child grace as you learn new things. You may have to expose your kid to a food 20x before they’ll eat it! If you are serving a family meal that you KNOW your kid won’t eat ANY of–go ahead and put a little bit of an old standby on their plate, too. For me, that’s usually hummus or a piece of organic string cheese.
- Encourage new foods but don’t FORCE your kids. Don’t use food as a punishment or ultimatum.
- Role model healthy eating and trying new foods.
Check out my other blog on toddler eating if you are looking for some more ideas!
What have you found to be the most frustrating part about feeding your kids?