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ERIC Number: EJ1044085
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1068-6177
Encouraging Healthy Eating Behaviors in Toddlers
Brawley, Larra; Henk, Jennifer
Dimensions of Early Childhood, v42 n2 p18-22 2014
Young children's eating behaviors have a direct link to their future health and attitudes regarding food. Similarly, positive nutrition during the toddler years leads to increased brain development and thus children are generally healthier (Weaver, More, & Harris, 2008). This makes eating behaviors extremely important. During the toddler years children begin to eat table foods similar to adults. The adult role includes choosing food, encouraging children to listen to their bodies, and facilitating interaction and learning. The adult decides what to serve the child and, based on what is offered, the child will decide what and how much to eat (Horodynski & Stommel, 2005). In providing the child with food options, the adult may also reflect and respect the child's home and cultural experience with the food that is presented (Ziegler, Hanson, Ponza, Novak, & Hendricks, 2006). Teachers can use mealtimes with toddlers to encourage healthy eating behaviors (among other skills). However, mealtimes can often be the most challenging time of the day for caregivers. Toddler mealtimes can turn from exasperating to an enjoyable learning experience when caregivers are equipped with the right tools for each child. This article begins by discussing how to overcome picky eating, the impact of interactions during mealtime, and the role of children's internal cues of hunger and how many adults unknowingly override them. It then addresses mealtime control and creating healthy habits that will last into adulthood, modeling healthy practices to set a good example for children, and cultural and social norms that impact children's interactions with food during mealtime.
Southern Early Childhood Association. PO Box 8109 Jacksonville, AR 72078. Tel: 501-221-1648. e-mail:; Web site: https://
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A