How to get their toddlers to eat healthy food is a major concern of many parents.
Marian Rivera worries about that, too, but she has found a way to deal with it: She allows her three-year-old daughter Zia to eat whatever she wants, but in moderation.
The Kapuso Prime-Time Queen detailed, "Ako ang patakaran ko kay Zia sa pagpapalaki sa kaniya, walang bawal sa kaniya.
"Kasi na-realize ko, the more na awatin mo ang bata sa gusto niya, the more siyang macu-curious kung ano iyong lasa noon."
She continued, "So pag nagustuhan niya, siguro doon ka na gagawa ng paraan na wag sosobra."
So, when Zia says, "Mama, I want to try this one," Marian goes, "E, di try mo."
At the Smart Parenting Masterclass last September 29, at the Loft Coworking Philippines, the mom of two said that giving children the freedom to explore and discover new things on their own is essential to their growth.
And that applies even to their food preferences and eating habits.
Marian elaborated, "Kasi lahat puwede wag lang sosobra kasi mas maganda rin naman na bigay mo iyong gusto ng bata.
"At the same time, iyong nutrition niya ay hindi nape-pending. Kung baga, nabibigay mo pa rin ng buong buo.
"So ako, okay lang, kung ano gusto niya, okay ako doon, basta [in moderation]."
Marian further shared, "Sobrang happy ako kasi hindi siya gaanong picky sa food, hindi siya masyadong pihikan."
She said Zia will eat whatever is on her plate, and what Marian does is add something "extra" to make the dish fun, yummy, and healthy for her girl.
Omelette, for example, is a favorite of Zia.
Instead of frying the egg with its usual ingredients, such as ham, bacon, and tomatoes, Marian uses healthier alternatives such as broccoli, squash, and chicken.
Her secret to making it enjoyable for Zia?
She mashes each of the ingredients with a blender.
She told Smart Parenting moms, "Para madali lang kainin, ibe-blender ko iyan. Yung broccoli, yung squash, saka yung chicken.
"Based kay Zia, gusto niya ibe-blender ko lahat bago ko iluto with the egg.
"So parang omelette lang siya literal pero hindi niya alam, nandoon iyong mga ingredients na gusto ko.
"So kapag blinender mo iyan, niluto mo iyong itlog, mix niyo together, [saka niyo] ilagay sa sandwich."
Clearly, Marian is a diligent mom who conscientiously makes healthy choices for her daughter.
But how does she steer her away from non-nutritious food when she's not around?
Marian said about Zia's baon, "Hindi ako basta nagsa-sandwich lang."
She explained, "May mga nabibiling bento ngayon, iyong nakaka-drawing, mga bear o iyong favorite niya, iyong unicorn, so mas nakaka-engganyong kainin...
"Full force, kelangan gagawin niyo lahat kasi kunwari sa school, mga classmate baon mga chips.
" Well, honest person kasi iyong anak ko.
"Sasabihin niya, 'Mama, my classmate gave this [chips] to me.'
"'Anong kinain mo?' Mama, konti lang naman.''"
And because Marian has this "patakaran" that Zia can eat anything but in moderation, she would tell her kid, "Anak, okay lang mag-chips pero not every day in school kasi wala kang makukuhang sustansya niyan."
Marian stressed the importance of making sure Zia gets all the nutrients she needs as a growing child from her daily foods and drinks.
She told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at the Smart Parenting Class, "As a mom, dapat nag-che-checklist talaga.
"Siyempre hindi naman sa isang kainan, makukumpleto natin ang nutrisyon na kailangan niya, so dapat merong Nido 3+."
For parents with toddlers who are picky eaters, Marian said there are a lot of options out there, and it's just a matter of finding the ones that would work.
She also told the parents not to easily give up. And if you can't convince them to eat veggies, for instance, consider other options.
"Siguro as advice, kung ayaw talaga nang pagkain, try mo second, third time.
"Wag na nating ipilit kasi marami rin namang substitution para hindi na kayo mag-away ng anak mo."