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Challenge: Start Today: Healthy Habits

Do Two Year Olds Skip Dinner, Or Is It Just Mine?

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As a parent, your number one concern is for the health and well being of your children. You're aware of their grades in school, who their friends are, and what they eat. But when it comes to nutrition, a lot of parents find that meal time can turn into a wrestling match between you and your toddler. Here are a few things to consider if you find yourself in a power struggle with your child during meals.

Start Young

Make it a precedent in your home that everyone eats the same meal. Never make a meal for your family, and then put yourself through even more work by making a separate meal for your picky eater. If you're children know from day one that whatever mom and dad put on the table is what's for dinner, then they'll be less likely to throw a tantrum about wanting something else.

Make Food They'll Like

If you're making fried oysters and pickled beets for dinner, then you can't really blame your children for wanting a Nutella sandwich with some Cheetos. Experiment with healthy recipes and if you find one that your family enjoys, add it to your recipe book but if they hate it then throw that one out.

Get Them Involved

Your children will be much more excited about eating dinner if they helped you prepare it. Find a way to get them involved with meal preparation. This could be helping you make the dinner, set the table, pick out recipes, or having dinners that they can make by themselves like tacos or homemade pizza.

Understand Portion Size

Don't get discouraged if your toddler isn't eating their entire plateful. There is a good chance that you are serving them too much food. Your children's stomach is significantly smaller than yours and they only need between 1,000- 1,400 calories per day. For this reason, serve your child a couple of tablespoons of each food group and let them eat until they're full.

Don't Give In

Once you've practiced the previous four tips, one final piece of advice is to not give in to your toddlers demands for a PB&J instead of the chicken alfredo you've prepared. If your food is edible, your child helped you prepare it, and if their portion isn't too big then simply explain that's what dinner is. If they choose not to eat it, set it aside and when they complain about being hungry, warm up their plate and try again. They will eventually figure out that meals are non-negotionable and your meals will turn from being wrestling matches, to happy family meals again.

Kevin Jones is a freelance writer, researcher and fitness instructor/consultant. He had helped hundreds of people find ways to become more fit and healthy through a balanced life focusing on an individualized approach to their nutrition and fitness. In addition, Kevin has written extensively in the fitness and health industries, including writing for companies such as a ICON Fitness brand NordicTrack. Connect with Kevin online; LinkedIn - Twitter

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