A few weeks ago I got an email from Chobani asking if I’d be interested in participating in their #chobanikids campaign and share my thoughts, tips, and ideas on how to get kids to eat healthy. We don’t actually have any of the Chobani kids products at our Publix or Target (although after searching Chobani’s website I see that they’re at Walmart) but we’ve been eating it ourselves for years and why not?
I’m certainly no expert and Cooper is only 17 months old (today!) so I haven’t been doing the whole mom thing long, but making sure he’s getting all the stuff he needs to make him grow up healthy and strong is really important and so here we are.
This is what’s (mostly) working for us right now:
MAKE IT FUN
When it comes to babies, the one thing I’ve learned is that mess = fun. While I might be standing by cringing at the thought of washing all that black bean juice off his face and arms and legs and you get the point, if it gets him to eat the beans than I’m all for it. If I try and keep things clean and feed them to him, he just shakes his head and tells me no. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to reason with a 17 month old, but it’s pointless. So, I just put a few spoon fulls on his tray and let him go to work. Bath time is fun anyways!
Another fun option that Cooper is loving these days is popsicles! I’ve been buying the Outshine Fruit Bars since they are made with only real fruit and no added sugar. One of those popsicles only has 1 gram of sugar. And an added bonus, it keeps him occupied in the high chair for a good 30 minutes. In Mom time that’s like a lifetime!
PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
We’ve reached the point where if we’re eating something Cooper comes running and demands that we share. I have no problem sharing and love watching him eat and try new things. That being said, I don’t think it’s fair to snack on chips and cookies and tell him that he can’t have any so we just don’t do it. If I’m having a snack when he’s around, I try to pick something that I’d be fine with him having too.
Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t indulge every now and then when Coop’s sleeping, but we try to keep it at a minimum. However, in our attempts to only keep healthy snacks in the house as a good example, I’ve found a few snacks that I literally can’t wait to open. The Chobani Flips are amazing. The key lime pie one has been a long time favorite but I picked up the salted caramel crunch flavor the other day and I was so sad when I ate the last bite. I’ll definitely be emptying the Publix shelf this week.
CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES
One of the things we’ve been doing for a while is letting Cooper pick what he wants to eat. If he’s going to have a fruit/veggie packet I’ll grab two or three out of the cabinet and give him whichever one he goes for first. Or if I’m going to cut him some fruit I’ll open the fridge and lay out his options. We don’t want someone dictating exactly what we have to eat, so why should we?
Cooper’s not a huge fan of milk and is on toddler formula, per our Dr’s recommendation, but after giving him a few sips of my Naked mango juice one morning he just can’t get enough. Since it’s full of the good stuff, I’ll happily pour him a cup and now “juice” is the first thing he asks for in the morning although it usually sounds more like “ushhhh” but I gotcha, kid.
JUST GO WITH IT
There’s some days when getting him to eat all the fruits and veggies I want him to, just isn’t happening. So, if I have to bribe him with a few crackers I try to at least make sure they’re whole grain. Or, we’ll eat outside or in his room for a change or scenery. Sometimes I’m chasing him around the house with the plate saying “bite” like a crazy lady. It happens.
I also found a great free app for the iPad called Toca Monsters where you get to feed one of two monsters and you can microwave, blend, or chop the food too. It might not be super educational but it is really cute and Cooper loves hearing the monsters say “Yummm” as they chew and it gets him to take a few bites of his own food at the same time. Hey, whatever works. Right?