Rearing kids is an art and you specialize in this art as you practice. Most people assume kids to be robots who follow their commands to the ‘T’. Right from making your kid brush his/her teeth to eating habits, caring for a child is challenging and you need to be extremely patient and creative. Even pediatric nutritionists face difficulties in growing children and it is sheer experience and flexible approach that you develop apart from theoretical knowledge that can help you reap the fruits.
Every child is different and needs a different approach to be reared well. Also, nutritious food does not guarantee a healthy kid and health is dependent on various other factors as well. For a list of all the important factors that determines a person’s health, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Listed here are few tactics that can help you feed your child in a better way:
As a mom or dad, you might be eager to offer the best of everything for your children and cook the healthiest meal possible. But when your kid sees that the food on the table looks unfamiliar, he/she is sure to refrain from eating it. It’s understandable that you wish to expose your kid to all good foods, but its important to gradually introduce them to your children alongside familiar foods that your child likes to eat. The best way to expose your kid to variety and nutrition is to keep the food simple and familiar.
A well-balanced meal that supplies the proper combination of fruits, veggies, whole grains, proteins and fats alongside minimal portions of sweets and treats is the priority for parents. Such meals help to add nutrition and good health while suppressing the desire to overeat or crave for certain foods.
Keep the Proportions Right
Many children survive on foods that are rich in added sugars. There must be room for these foods too, but ‘how much’ is the question here. Follow the 90/10 rule where 90 percent of foods eaten in a day are healthy and wholesome and 10 percent are those that include foods such as sweets and treats. This helps kids enjoy their daily eating schedule as well as nourish from the foods they eat.
Avoid Constant Worrying
Parents worry all the time regarding their kid’s eating habits, weight and height. They feel that unhealthy eating habits might cause their children to suffer from weight gain, nutrition problems and so on. Hence, we try to impose stringent restrictions as parents and that makes the child try sneaky ways to get access to their favorite junk foods.
Chaos is the Way if Not Properly Fed
Some children are constantly in the kitchen asking for food every now and then. They grab some chips, eat a biscuit or two and drink juices. When a child complains of hunger always, it is an indication that the food system and feeding pattern are not working out as expected. This might accustom the child to eating unhealthy junk foods. Parents must curb such acts by focusing on providing the child with well-balanced foods at right timings with a regular daily schedule.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Eating the same food every day bores an adult and kids are no exception to this. Ensure that you include pleasant surprises to your kid’s meals every now and then which will keep children entertained as well as thrilled to try the new foods. Swap their post-school snack routines daily and include one different nutritious food in their platter at snacks time. Kids are captivated by what they see. Parents can deceive children into eating healthy foods by using creative ways to present them. Exposing children to new foods is the right way to make them like, taste and familiarize themselves with a wide variety of foods.
Involve Kids in Decision Making
Don’t wrongly assume that making decisions are solely an adult’s job. Kids love being involved in every action that takes place in the house. When they are asked for their suggestion on the menu ideas, given a choice to choose between two snacks or allowed to help in the kitchen doing small chores, they feel that their presence is integral and important. Allow kids to have a say in food matters as it is a part of their developmental process.
Focus on ‘How To’ Feed
While parents focus on ‘what’ to feed, they miss out completely on ‘how’ to feed their children. Parents miss out on the interactions that happen around their food time and only concentrate on what goes into their kid’s mouth. Such pressure might make a kid become a picky eater, overeat or even refuse to eat at all sometimes. Also, bribing children with food rewards, for instance promising a dessert when the vegetable salad is completed, promotes the child’s interest in desserts and makes veggies less palatable over time. How you feed your child has the supreme power to determine their healthy eating habits.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.