Set Your Toddler Up for Success with Healthy Eating Habits

A 1 year old girl smiles with her hair in buns and a sippy cup beside her while she turns around in her chair.

Good eating habits are a key aspect of helping your toddler grow up to be a healthy child. As your little one’s caregiver, it is normal for them to look up to you and try to imitate your behavior. Set healthy eating habits by having them yourself. Take time to sit down as a family and teach them the importance of sharing a home-cooked meal together.

We’ve put together this helpful guide with some ways to put your child on the path to a healthy future:

An analog alarm clock.

• Have a flexible routine

Encourage your toddler to eat at specific times during the day, but don’t pressure them into it. Allow them to control the amount they eat, always checking in on whether they’re full before they go for more.

A pile of grapes, oranges, bananas, kiwi and apples.

• Ease into healthy eating

Have a wide range of nutritious options from each of the basic food groups available throughout the day until they learn to share a meal with the rest of the family.

Salt and pepper shakers.

• Keep condiments to a minimum

Avoid foods that are heavily salted, sweetened or spiced, and let your little one experience and enjoy natural tastes.

A slice of watermelon.

• Snack time

In addition to three meals, toddlers should have 2 or 3 snacks along the day. Plan ahead so you can use this opportunity to provide more nutrients to your little one with snacks that are easy to create, delicious, and nourishing.

A carrot cut into slices.

• Safety first

Toddlers don’t know how to chew properly until they are about four years old. Prevent choking by cutting food into small pieces, encouraging them to slow down to enjoy their food, and making sure there is always and adult around to supervise.

Always talk with your toddler’s healthcare provider regarding their nutrition needs. Though feeding toddlers can often be challenging, try to make mealtime with them an enjoyable experience. Another trick you can try is to tell them stories about the food you’re sharing to help them understand how it will make them grow big and strong. Enjoying nutritious foods together creates memories that will always be with your little one!