But what if your child isn't an open-minded eater?
Because of this pull towards sweets, children may shy away from bitter foods and some may become very picky eaters. They may also go through phases where they only eat a certain food or food group. For example, my niece was a very picky eater around the age of 18 months. She went through a phase where she ate Easy Mac every day. Its all she wanted and its really all she did eat. My sister worried that she wasn't getting the adequate nutrition she needed. I think many parents worry about this same thing. Many kids go through a phase like this but when it comes down to it the phase won't last long and there really won't be any long term negative affects. A child knows when they are hungry, they won't starve themselves and they want to be in control of their diet. Giving them a choice between 2 healthy options is a good way to engage your child in eating instead of asking them what they want. The options there are endless and they will always choose something sweeter or unhealthy. Despite all of the tips and tricks to ensure good nutrition some parents may still feel concern for their child's long term nutrition. If that's the case its important to talk to your pediatrician. They may recommend giving your child a supplement to ensure his or her development. There are chew-able vitamins available and other drink supplements that your kids will like that can give them adequate nutrients and give you peace of mind.
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Here are some facts about vitamins and which foods you can find them in.
Vitamin A promotes normal growth, healthy skin, and tissue repair, and aids in night and color vision. Rich sources include yellow vegetables, and dairy products.
The B vitamins promote red blood cell formation and assist in a variety of metabolic activities. They are found in meat, poultry, fish, soybeans, milk, eggs, whole grains, and enriched breads and cereals.
Vitamin C strengthens connective tissue, muscles, and skin, hastens the healing of wounds and bones, and increases resistance to infection. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and broccoli.
Vitamin D promotes tooth and bone formation and regulates the absorption of minerals like calcium. Sources include fortified dairy products, fish oils, fortified margarine, and egg yolks. Sunlight also contributes to dietary sources of vitamin D, stimulating the conversion of a naturally occurring compound in the skin to an active form of the vitamin.
The What to Expect website has a great article called "Toddler Eating Habits: A Few Golden Rules" This is a great resource to encourage healthy eating habits in your children.