Forming Food Habits in the Toddler Years

by Annie on June 16, 2012 · 2 comments

in Healthy Living

At Hazelnut’s daycare, most of the staff is overweight and a couple of them are obese. There have been plenty of times when I showed up and 3-4 of the staff waltzed in from their breaks with huge Starbucks frappicianos (with the whipped cream), McDonalds, or Chinese take-out. While the daycare is not feeding the children these foods, I can’t help but wonder if they are setting a good example.

Aren’t the babies too young to understand junk food?

Most of the babies and toddlers, my daughter included, are still learning to eat with their hands (utensils are optional). Is it too early for me to ponder about negative eating influences?

However, consider how young children learn. They watch, they listen, and then they imitate. While they might not have control over what kind of food is place before them while they are babies and toddlers, they can and will show a preference quickly when given the opportunity.

Who has the most influence over a child’s food preference?

The daycare teachers spend a good chunk of Hazelnut’s waking hours with her. She is watching what the teachers are eating. Whether or not this will have an impact on her future food preference remains to be seen.

I’ve watched my friends struggling with the local elementary school over treats and snacks. They would pack nutritious snacks for their children, only to have teachers give them a handful of Goldfish when the child said she forgot her snack.

My husband thinks I am overreacting to the school lunch program. Hello, dinosaur nuggets are not something you find in nature. There are other moms out there who also have a problem with the school lunch program.

When I get home with Hazelnut, we share a snack of fruit, cheese, and crackers. She rejects almost all the “toddler” food that friends are telling me are their child’s favorite. She thinks it is a game to crawl through my legs when I am doing certain yoga poses and she shows a quiet fascination with rolling my weights across the living room floor. And this is about the best I can do right now, but I think we are on the right track.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health. If you like what you are reading, please share this with your friends.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. J June 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

I tend to believe that infants are born intuitive eaters, but they lose this ability if they are continually fed junk!

I cannot understand why children’s menus in restaurants have the worst foods on them!


asithi June 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Dr J

Other than milk, everything else is just horrible. Until Hazelnut rebels, she is eating off my plate. It would be healthier for her (and me since the oortion size is huge) and it would save money.


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