There are many ways to keep your toddler healthy and happy. Sometimes, all it take is a little imagination, healthy food, and occasionally the ability to turn a blind eye to mess! Blackmores naturopath Danielle Steedman shares her tips for raising healthy toddlers.
As our little kids turn into big kids, we can’t help but worry whether they’re getting all the right nutrients and exercise they need. Here are 10 easy ways you can try to encourage your children to eat their meals, enjoy veggies, and spend some more time outdoors in nature.
1. Make dinnertime fun
Create faces or animal shapes out of their food. Your toddler may find it funny to eat the dinosaur’s “tail”, or the pirate’s “eye”, even when it’s really a carrot or a blueberry
2. Upgrade their seat
Give your toddler their own cutlery and bowl to help make them feel grown up. And move their high chair to the table, or invest in a booster seat. By giving your toddler their own seat or place at the table, and including them in your dinner time conversation, they’ll associate eating healthy food with fun family time
3. Think quality, not quantity
Fruit and vegetables are important at this age, as they important contain important nutrients like vitamin C and folic acid, so offer some with every meal. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all get eaten – any amount is better than none. If your little one won’t eat anything at all, you could try a milk drink like Blackmores Toddler Milk Drink to support your busy toddlers’ nutritional needs and help ensure they receive nutrients and vitamins including proteins, prebiotics, iodine, iron, zinc and calcium.
4. Smuggle vegies!
Puree vegetables and sneak them into sauces. Use sauces on homemade pizzas, with pasta, or for dipping carrots, bread sticks or even little fingers into.
5. Be a whiz!
Fruit smoothies, or frozen fruit on a stick are a hit with kids, especially during summer. They’re cold, sweet and make a mess! What more could a toddler want? Try watermelon, mango, kiwi fruit and banana diluted with water.
6. Cook with your little one
Give your toddler an apron and encourage him or her to help you in the kitchen. They may be more likely to eat foods which they have helped prepare.
7. Limit screen time
It’s believed that children who spend too much time in front of a screen spend more time snacking – and on the wrong types of foods. Instead, create games outside which will inspire their imagination. A treasure hunt is always fun, or take some kids’ binoculars and search for bugs and birds.
8. Be an active family
It can be difficult to find the time to spend together as a family, and for exercise as well. Why not combine the two with some family fun that will get you all fit? Cycling is a great way to exercise and explore your local area. Even swimming, soccer, walking along the beach or in a park can give you time together to talk, laugh and explore together, all whilst getting active.
9. Give imaginative treats
It’s tempting to offer a sugary treat when you want to reward your toddler for good behaviour, or just for doing what you ask! Instead of sweets, offer healthy alternatives. Toddlers love one-on-one time, so reward good behaviour with some fun: a bounce on the trampoline together, read their favourite book, or put some music on and dance like nobody’s watching.
10. Set a good example
Children learn by example, so ensure your own eating and activity habits are ones you would want your child to adopt. Eat healthily, exercise daily… and laugh as often as you can.