Easy (and fun) Ways to Tie Your Toddler Into Healthy Eating Habits

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Fitness, eating right, and staying healthy are a huge part of my life. Having children made this even more important to me.

I see every day how our two year-old, Luke, watches what we are doing. It is so important to be a good role model for him, in my words and actions. Leading a healthy life that I can be proud of, that makes it possible for me to run around with my kids and have enough energy to be a fun mom (who else just thought of Mean Girls- “I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom!”) is way up there at the top of my priorities. I need to take care of myself so I can take care of everyone else. And I need to be a good role model, so Luke can see his mom eating well and taking care of my body and how important eating right is and how exercising can be enjoyable.

As the New Year has started so has our journey deeper into the “life of a two year old.” Everything is “why?”; “No, I want daddy to do it (or vice versa)”; “I want to help you.”; “Can I have some of that?”; or my favorite as of lately, “When I am a bigger people, I can do that.” – Which he obviously means when I’m older I can do ____ (fill in the blank for whatever the person he is speaking to is doing).

I don’t want to stifle his enthusiasm or reject his interest in what we are doing, so I’ve made the extra effort to include him as much as possible. That includes meals, food prep, and exercising. He’s taken extra interest when I am prepping meals for the week and getting my protein shake ingredients divvied up to help with the morning routine.

When Luke started asking “Can I have some of that?” I was both surprised and excited. “Sure! You don’t have to be a grown up to have a smoothie. We can make you one.” [Key the googling and pinning.]

Now, I will say, the first two smoothies we made for Luke ended up down the drain. The first had too much spinach and very little taste – doesn’t sound like anything a toddler would like! The second was way too thick and just didn’t impress me. Then we got it. It’s really about switching up the flavors and ingredients, so they don’t get bored with it, and starting out semi-sweet.

Fresh fruit smoothies are high in fiber, low in fat and loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. And I don’t know about you, but getting our two year old to eat veggies is not the easiest thing. But, so far, we’ve had great luck introducing the smoothies. He sucks them down and doesn’t even want to share!

Here are a few tips that we’ve found useful for making kid friendly smoothies:

  1. Start out with ingredients you know your little ones already like.
  2. Once they are on board with the fruit smoothies, start to add some veggies.
  3. Next add a few leaves of spinach. Too much can disrupt the color or taste. 
  4. Once they embrace the “greens” try adding some pineapple or mango for a nice sweet finish.
  5. Here’s some extra add-ins to consider: Flax seed is important for extra fiber and chia seeds add fiber, protein, plus loads of nutrients.

 

My husband hit a home run when he purchased the Magic Bullet Blender for me for Christmas and we’ve been enjoying using it to whip up our household shakes throughout the week.

Our little guy was in the first few days of a cold when I wrote this post, so we made a Recovery Smoothie that included – oranges, beets, spinach, carrots, apples, and mixed berries.

What are some of the recipes that you use to incorporate healthy food into your toddlers meal times? Please comment below with tips and/or recipes to share with others!   

*This post was not sponsored and all opinions are my own. 

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Katie Stern
Katie is a wife and mom of 3 boys, Lucas, Zeke and Toby. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, with a degree in Marketing & Communications. Katie has worked in the construction industry for the past 12 years, building and restructuring brands and marketing departments, for companies in the Baltimore and Washington DC market, before returning to Pittsburgh and starting a family. Their second son, Toby, was born May 27, 2016 and died suddenly in August from SIDS, at 12 weeks and 5 days old. Katie and her husband, Dan, made a promise to Toby that they would work to do good in his name and never let the story of his life be forgotten. Through this loss, they have founded The Little Fox | Toby’s Foundation with the hopes of bringing joy, laughter, and lots of smiles to families within the Pittsburgh community, while working to spread awareness about child-loss and the lives of grieving parents. This is not the path they would have chosen for their lives, but it is the journey they are now on and will strive to be the best parents they can be, to one child on earth and one in Heaven. Katie is currently the Director of Marketing for A. Martini & Co., and General Contracting and Construction Management Firm. She has been heavily involved with juvenile diabetes research, because she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 2. Currently, Katie sits on the Executive Leadership Council for the American Diabetes Association, Pittsburgh Chapter and is part of the planning committee for Step Out: Pittsburgh each year. Their family moved to Monroeville, one week after Toby was born, and have enjoyed getting to know that area of Pittsburgh and what it has to offer. While in the throes of motherhood, Katie is also active throughout the week with exercise routines, Paw Patrol and PJ Masks episodes, blogging at Our Happy Place & Co., a lifestyle blog she started in 2013, and working with her husband on the mission of The Little Fox.