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13th March 2014 01:56 PM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2014
How can I make my little boy (3 y/o) to eat healthy
How can I make my little boy (3 y/o) to eat healthy - to eat vegetables and fruits? He used to eat healthy, but I'm starting to notice that he is now experiencing a diet shift. He now prefers sweet food. I'm worried that he might not be receiving proper nutrition, and worst that he might get sick (tonsilitis, diabetes). Feeding him healthy food is getting harder each day.
1st April 2014 06:57 AM #2
Thank you for your question. Firstly, know that most parents go through this phase with their children - it will get easier. Often what seems to happen is a young child starts off eating almost everything and then goes through a particularly fussy phase (where they only eat a small variety of food types) and then most children will then start to gradually increase the variety of food which they eat. This means that it is sensible to keep putting fruit and vegetables on their plate even if they are not eating them currently as they are likely (to the parent's surprise at the time!) to start eating it again at some point.
We have previously discussed, on this forum, going for the 'double vegetable approach'. This means you give your child both 'seen' and 'hidden' vegetables. So the seen vegetables would be the ones you keep putting on their plates (bear in mind that presentation is often important for young children - you could make vegetables faces or shapes). Then you can also hide vegetables within their meals to ensure they are still eating vegetables even if they are not choosing to do so. For example, roast a butternut squash, peppers and tomatoes, liquidise it and it becomes a pasta sauce.
Children of this age are often quite keen on dipping. Make vegetable sauces that they can dip bread/ meat into.
Another hit at this age are fresh fruit smoothies. This can become a whole activity in yourself - your child can design their own smoothie, help make it and then enjoy the end result.
Try to keep as relaxed as you can about meal-times and food in general as you want to avoid your son making emotion associations with his food (which could lead to an eating disorder in later life). Make family meal-times a time for fun and sharing your days together.
Another idea (this one is from the Dr. Sears website) is to have a 'grazing plate' full of healthy snacks (dates, carrot sticks, banana pieces, grapes etc) placed at a low table which your child can come and go to as they wish throughout the day. Three year olds tend to be very busy, energetic people and this is a way for them to eat healthy food on the go. The idea is that you keep replenishing the grazing plate throughout the day. Indeed, many pre-schoolers get on better with plenty of healthy snacks throughout the day rather than three big meals (which require them to sit still for longer).
I hope that some of these suggestions help you. Please post back and let us know how you get on.