I'm often asked how I get my 4 year old daughter, Little A to eat so healthy and the truth is, I haven't done anything crazy. I have some suspicion of why Little A is drawn to healthy foods over junk food so I thought I'd share.
1. Healthy is all she's known since birth. Little A was breastfed until she was 3 and when I introduced solids at 8 months (I postponed solids longer to provide her with the best start possible), I didn't start her on cereal or give her other "baby food". Instead I made her puréed vegetables and fruits that I mixed with breastmilk. Her first food was banana with breastmilk. I kept the banana a little chunky as I followed Baby Led Weaning. This time around I think I may try avocado first since banana can be constipating. But anyway, she had a solid start so it was only up from there.
8 months old, having her first taste of solid food.
2. I keep only healthy food in the house. I don't buy anything that I wouldn't want her to eat. If my husband wants "junk food", he can get it out of the house. Our house is junk food free.
3 years old, picking apples! We spend a lot of time visiting Farmer's Markets and picking fruit from farms when the weather is warm.
3. She always comes grocery shopping with me. This wasn't ideal when she was going through the "terrible twos" but I don't have a babysitter which turned out for the better. Since Little A was very little, I have showed her the produce I'm buying and told her what it was called. As she got older I would ask her what it was, what color and what shape. This became a fun game and got her interested in eating these foods. I even let her smell the fruit and let her have some as we are shopping (I always pay!).
Grocery shopping in Whole Foods as a baby. This cart insert was organic too!
4. Letting her help in the kitchen. Little A has been my kitchen helper for as long as I can remember. She spins the salads, stirs the soups (carefully and only when I'm standing with her), even adds seasoning to whatever I'm making. She will eat anything I let her help make, it's the simplest trick, and it always works!
Cooking up some Escarole earlier this week! We played makeup this day, hence the eyeliner hearts on her face!
Little hands drying and eating lettuce! ;)
5. Growing our food. We have had a garden every Summer since before Little A was born. She loves helping us plant (and playing in the dirt), watering, watching it grow and especially picking the harvest! She has even been known to eat vegetables right from the dirt! Getting her involved makes a huge difference.
2 years old, picking cucumbers from the garden.
6. Not making junk foods totally off limits. Now that she is old enough to understand (when she was younger she never even looked at chips and candy at parties, she would go right to the fruit salad), she does ask about certain foods. She will ask me if its healthy and if she can have it. When I tell her something is not healthy, but she can try it, she makes her own choice not to eat it (to my relief). I don't want to deprive her to the point that when she goes out on her own she goes crazy for junk food so I give her the option. Hopefully things will stay this way! ;)
Her first time having "sugar", her 2nd birthday party, a vegan, gluten-free cupcake. She took one bite and asked for a plate of fruit. ;)
So there you have it, my simple steps to a healthy eating kid!