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Steering your toddler away from junk food

toddlers and junk food
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Chances are, the majority of parents set out with the best intensions of only feeding their child the very best; ensuring they have their 5 a day without fail, organic if possible, without a chip or chicken nugget in sight. Then the reality of tiredness, lack of time and a fussy child set in and the convenience of quick and easy and less healthy meals soon took over. So how easy is steering your toddler away from junk food?

Toddlers and junk food

Even though convenience food is fine in moderation, developing good eating habits from as younger age a possible should be encouraged to ensure they are receiving the right balance of healthy and nutritious food. If your child appears to have become a junk food addict already then there are some great ways of encouraging them to enjoy healthier foods and paving the way for a positive attitude to food in later life.

toddlers and junk food

Healthy choices

Consider your diet as a family and where you could opt for healthier choices when possible. Swap white bread for wholemeal, clear out the chocolate cupboard and replace with plenty of fruit such as raisins or dried apricots and consider buying high fibre, sugar free cereals or porridge to set them up for the day. If the whole family is taking a healthy attitude towards nutrition, then your toddler won’t feel like you are singling them out in any way.

Once you have a kitchen full of healthier foods, you should make them more appealing to eat. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes or arrange their food into a big smiley face on their plate. Veggie sticks can make great snacks when teamed with tasty dips and your children are more likely to enjoy healthier food if they see you enjoying it too! You should also encourage your children to help in the preparation of the food as well as studies have shown that children tend to be more interested in eating food they have helped to make. Making a home made healthy pizza can be fun for all the family, designing how you want your pizza to look and taste and really including your children in the process from start to finish.

Sweets and desserts

Puddings shouldn’t be out of bounds either and you can find some great ideas for healthy desserts such as frozen yoghurts instead of ice cream and home made frozen ice lolly’s made from fruit juice. All of this does sound like it could be expensive and time consuming, but with a bit of careful meal planning you may find it can be cheaper and more convenient in the long run. You might want to buy canned vegetables instead of fresh which are cheaper and will last longer and when preparing meals, make up extra which can be frozen and then used at a later date.

Vegetarian child eating a salad

Don’t make junk food forbidden totally but as a treat now and then and teach your child the importance of getting their 5 a day and how to enjoy a balanced diet. The odd McDonalds isn’t the end of the world either, but if possible go for the healthier options.

Even the most stubborn children can’t keep up an ‘I want junk food’ strike for long and children will eat when they are hungry. You may encounter a tantrum or two (or three) along the way but ultimately, you are in control of your child’s diet not them. Providing them with a nutritious diet and healthy start in life can play a vital role in their future relationship with food and healthy eating and has a positive impact on both their wellbeing and academic progression.

 

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About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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