If you would like to raise happy and healthy kids, you will need to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. It is important that you look after their diet from the beginning, and help their immune system develop as soon as possible.
Being overprotective might be going a bit too far, but you can certainly manage your child’s diet leading by example and having strict rules when it comes to junk food.
Download Our Freebie
Subscribe to my blog to receive my free 'Kids Resources' bundle which was designed with the busy family in mind and to streamline your kids lives.
Below you will find a few tips on how to get started and help your children stay healthy.
Consider Their Sensitivity
The digestive system of young kids, babies, and toddlers is not as advanced as adults’. Not to mention that whatever they will get used to will be the thing their body can digest, you might remember when your little one was just a baby, and they suffered from colic, keeping you up all day.
It was because their digestive system was not fully developed, and their body was trying to figure out what to do with different food items you introduced to them. Look out for the sensitivity of your child, so you can eliminate things from their diet that might cause discomfort.
If you find that one or more food item or ingredient is causing your toddler discomfort, you might want to get them an allergy test as soon as possible. This will prevent permanent damage and long term complications.
Food allergies are more prevalent than ever before, so it is important that you are aware of the risks. If there is someone in the family with food intolerance, you will need to be on the lookout for signs.
However, it is not necessarily the same type of allergy; you will need to know that your lactose intolerance might be manifested as a gluten intolerance in your kids.
The best way to manage your toddler’s diet is to stay organic whenever you can. The good news is that you can buy organic fruit and vegetable raw, process it and freeze it, or simply make some portions for your family and your toddler as it is.
You can look out for reduced price items at the end of the day in larger supermarkets, or visit the local farmers’ market once a week or every fortnight to stock up on produce.
Alternatively, you might set up your own vegetable patch and teach your child about where food is coming from.
Food and lifestyle come hand in hand when it comes to families. You need to ensure that your kids know how important it is to have a healthy breakfast, and it might be a good idea to prevent them from eating after a certain time at night.
You have to explain the importance of eating raw food for keeping their teeth healthy and getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy.
Make sure that they don’t snack on food that can damage their teeth after the night routine. Regular exercise and spending time in the fresh air will also help your kids digest the food better.
Healthy Eating Habits
Apart from the lifestyle changes and routine, your kids will also need to develop healthy habits, and this starts at the time when they become toddlers.
You can get them to have food together, avoid watching TV or playing games. Even creating a rule that everyone has to sit together at the table during family meals will make a huge difference in the future health of your kids.
Food Supplements: Yay or Nay
Some parents want to give their kids the best chance in life and try to make the most out of their diet by adding food supplements and vitamins.
The truth is that if you feed your kids a balanced diet, chances are that they will not need supplements for normal development or growth. You can, for example, try special balanced toddler food that will aid their digestive system and allow them to get just enough of every vitamin and mineral in the most natural format possible.
Healthy Growth Monitoring
When you are trying to find the right balanced diet for your toddler, it is important that you take them to regular check ups to the local surgery. Look at the graph your nurse or health practitioner has, so you can work out whether or not your child is on the right track, or there are some adjustments needed.
Let Them Choose
It is crucial that your child gets to choose which food they like and they have some favourites from every form of food. They don’t have to like every vegetable, but having a few they especially favour will help you make their plates more colourful and exciting.
There is nothing worse than trying to force your child to follow one diet or another. You should allow them to make a conscious and informed decision before they become vegetarian or vegan.
Mental Health Management
Emotional eating is not only relevant to adults, but also children. If your child is not happy and is worried all the time, they are more likely to eat because they need some comfort.
It is hard to break the habit that formed this early, so it is recommended that you explain the role of food in life, and look after the mental health of your child, as well as their physical well being.
Food Time Routine
When your baby becomes a toddler, they will need to be introduced to a food routine. They need to know when breakfast is, when they get to have a snack, and when they are allowed dessert.
Don’t make fast food a regular occurrence in your home, just because you lack time. You can always use the slow cooker, or freeze small portions for later.
If you want your child to have a good chance of growing up with healthy habits, you will have to ensure that they are introduced to healthy eating as soon as they start solids.