Healthy Eating Habits

When you have a baby or toddler at home, dinner time can be a challenge. Sometimes they don't want what you've made, or they won't eat anything at all. The best thing you can do is to not push them because like adults, children will eat when they're hungry. Believe it or not, the most important thing to think about is what you're eating.

Nancy Simminger has a four-year-old daughter Anna. "She's a pretty good eater," Nancy says. "As long as it's out there for her she'll eat it." Anna started learning how to eat healthy at an early age. Nancy says, "We were really picky, especially those first couple of years, in what we gave her. She rarely got any candy or anything like that, it was always fruits and vegetables." Nancy never had to force Anna to eat. When she was old enough, her parents let her eat by herself, something experts say is good. Janice Jones with EduCare says, "It's really important to let them try. If you see them really starting to get frustrated, then it's okay to ask them, would you like some help. Just ask them, don't take over."

Anna picks out her breakfast and lunch. Her parents pick out what they're all eating for dinner. Like other kids, she likes to snack, but Anna's parents got lucky because her favorite snack is kiwi. Even though kiwi's healthy, they still stress meal time. "She has to eat a certain amount or she can't eat any snacks. If she does it snacks, she has to eat a fruit or vegetable if she doesn't eat what we're eating for dinner." The most important thing to remember is your kids will want what you have, so it's important to be a good role model. "You should offer foods for them, and if they're not hungry right then, I think as adults we forget that sometimes we're not hungry when food's available to us," Janice Jones says. "If they see us eating certain foods, they're generally going to want to eat it. We have to remember that with young children, sometimes they have to see it 15 to 20 times on the table before they're going to try it."

It may be the end of "Baby Your Baby" week, but we have much more coming up soon. Next Saturday, March 2nd, after Heartland News at Six, we'll have a 30 minute "Baby Your Baby" special, covering topics from post partum depression, to single parenting, to how to pick the right daycare.