04 Oct 2017
Dealing with finicky or fervent eaters is one of the joys of being a parent, and the joy only grows when you throw tooth decay into the equation. Of course, the same kids who turn their noses up at healthy, savoury dishes will happily stick the same noses in ice cream, candy or donuts.
The more sugary foods your kids eat as toddlers, the more susceptible they’ll be to tooth decay and cavities later on. Hard though it might seem, the time to promote healthy eating habits in your kids is when they’ll hide under the bed to avoid them.
Here are some tried and true healthy foods that make great school snacks and anytime-at-home snacks.
Most toddlers have an innate aversion to anything that grows on trees or in the ground, but the time to start changing that is in the formative years. Remember, they’re kids, they haven’t really formed real opinions about anything yet, they just think they hate vegetables because they don’t look like hot dogs. So make them look like hot dogs and persist with raw carrot sticks, celery sticks and even (horror) broccoli sticks. Chances are, you’ll have a vege convert by the time they go to school.
No, not the boxed sugar rush you get at the movies, plain or salted popcorn that’s still fun to eat and easy to clean up when most of it ends up on the floor. Introduce the plain version before your kids go to their first big screen movie to avoid a ‘One of these things is not like the other’ debate.
Is corn a healthy snack? Absolutely! Corn is loaded with phytochemicals that promote good vision. And, contrary to popular belief, corn isn’t fattening. In fact, one ear of corn is about as fattening as an apple. What can add fat is the butter you ladle on, so go all out with the corn and go easy on the butter.
You can make hard-boiled eggs an event. Involve your toddler in the tapping and shell-peeling process. Not only does this get them excited about the white orb inside, they’re learning to put stuff in the bin. And while eggs are great sugar-free snacks, they tend to distribute themselves liberally around the floor if eaten unattended. So stay close until your toddler can be trusted not to rub yoke into your precious carpet.
Cheese contains calcium and calcium is good for teeth, so it’s an easy snack that helps to reduce plaque. Buy decent blocks to cut into snacks or get snack-size cheeses. You can also try cream cheese with mini breadsticks as a toddler dining experience.
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