Firstly, I absolutely love the fact that Jesse is breastfeeding. On a day where Jesse decides that he no longer likes bananas, when he throws his steamed carrots on the floor, and lifts his nose disparagingly at my carefully prepared green smoothie whilst mockingly trying to feed it back to me, I relax in the knowledge that he is still getting all that goodness inside him everyday by simply nursing. It takes so much pressure off of me knowing that I don't have to try force him to eat anything, and can wait until he decides he is hungry, or feels like eating. I recently wrote a whole post about why I breastfeed my toddler for the nutritional benefits.
To add to my relief, I can relax in the knowledge that my son will not starve. With a little trust, I know that he will eat when he is hungry, and he will eat just the amount, and just what his body requires. Toddlers are far more in tune with their hunger and nutritional requirements than us, as they have not been suppressing them for years as we have. Allow them the respect and the power of deciding when they will eat, and what - with healthy choices.
So, as he tests his newfound ability to choose what he wants to eat, I make sure the choices are healthy:
"Would you like a banana, pear or apple?"
I hold them up one by one, he loves that I have given him a choice and enjoys thinking about his options. Sometimes he take the banana and then changes his mind and wants the apple, and so on. In the end, if he is hungry, he will happily eat one of them.
Always making sure there are healthy things on my plate for him to help himself to is a must when trying to make sure he gets a good amount of fruits and vegetables in him everyday. Food always tastes much better when taken off someone else's plate, apparently.
In the evenings, Jesse has steamed veg such as butternut or sweet potatoe, I then enrich this by adding coconut oil, or Udo's Choice oil to ensure he gets the required amount of good fats, and I make other additions such as Soya Lecithin granules, anything to make it even more nutritious.
I try to get superfoods into much of his foods, smoothies being the easiest, and I most often add chlorophyl to his green smoothies.
For more information on what the nutritional requirements of a toddler are, see my previously published post here, which has a free printable sheet you can stick on your fridge :)
What are your tips for ensuring your toddler eats healthily but still honouring his need decide what and when to eat?