The old adage, "Do as I say, not as I do" won't fly when it comes to encouraging your little's healthy eating habits. According to registered dietician, Johanna Donnenfield BScPhm, MS RD, “Parents are the best role models for healthy food choices."
She goes on to suggest making food discovery a family affair, "Meal times are pleasant with new foods introduced on a regular basis that all are encouraged to try. Toddlers may reject a new taste the first few times but gradually will accept the food. Introduce a new food numerous time (as many as 12 or more times) and do not require the child to eat it if they do not want to. They will accept it.”
Here are her top ten tips for surviving mealtime:
- Be a good role model.
- Encourage children to take part in identifying and selecting food for the meal.
- Wash hands before eating.
- Use child-sized utensils and dishes. The Silicone Grip Dish suctions securely to tabletop or high chair, helping to hold it in place.
- Serve food in a divided dish to help with portions & prevent foods from touching, which can be a problem for some toddlers.
- Manners are developed over time; if they get fussy, it’s okay to pick them up and take them away from the table.
- Check your own expectations. Toddlers may not be able to wait until everyone is finished. Allow them to leave the table and play quietly while waiting.
- Remember that they’re little people. Don’t embarrass them by reprimanding them in public.
- Be patient and remember their developmental stage.
- Relax and enjoy your meal.
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