Two helpful hints for getting little ones to eat healthy

My two and three year old are great at reminding me that their taste buds are ever evolving.  One day they’ll each eat several apples, then they don’t want a thing to do with them for a week!  Variety is the spice of life as they say, and I try to mix things up as often as I can to make sure my little ones eat as healthy as possible.

One of my tricks for getting them to eat wholesome snacks is giving them some fruits and veggies right before I start cooking.  This is helpful for them because they are starting to get hungry and grumpy and giving them a plate to eat usually gets them in the backyard and out of my kitchen which helps me as I cook.  (Don’t get me wrong – they are great helpers when it comes to cooking, but sometimes it’s nice to get them out while I run and chop and boil and bake!)  Also, they seem very hungry and more likely to eat more veggies then vs having it share a plate with the rest of their dinner.  Sometimes I’ll whip up a little vinaigrette as a dip for veggies or spoon some hummus on the plate.

I try to make it as appealing as possible.  Both still love rainbows, so most fruit plates look like this

My other tip for getting toddlers to eat healthy is to have them pick out their own fruit or veggies at the store or farmer’s market.  Not only are they excited when they see something in season for the first time, but you’re letting them chose what to eat.  And then you can count items as you put it in the bag, or talk about cooking creations.  My son was freaking out when he saw fresh peaches a few weeks ago.

I believe that getting kids excited about cooking and helping select their favorite healthy snacks is one way to get them geared up for a healthy lifestyle.  What tips do you have to share when feeding your little ones?