Unwanted increasing weight in small children are at times ignored as baby fat but the actual reason behind paediatric obesity is poor eating habits. Most children are fussy eaters, and getting them to eat nutritious food is absolutely a tough task.
Parents play a crucial role in shaping the overall eating habits of children. Right from the birth, mother decides the kind of food her baby must eat. With time passing by, children develop their own food likes and dislikes but it’s up to the parents that how they manage to feed them with enough amount of nutrients while keeping their choices in mind. Parents often focus more on full stomach than portion control which makes children deprived of necessary nutrients so let’s look at some ways parents can take to develop healthy eating habits in their children-
- HEALTHY EATING BEGINS AT HOME
- HEALTHY MAY NOT ABLWAYS BE BORING
- There are plenty of alternatives
- MAKE GREENS FUN
- Offer your kid some healthy options to choose from as children enjoy their meals more when they decide the food themselves. (Do you want a carrot oats dosa or Palak corn sandwich?)
- Avoid keeping chips, cookies, sugary cereals or candies at home as your child is less likely to have them when there are no treats to be found.
- A child can detect hunger better when they eat slowly as it gives the brain time to register fullness. Also, don’t encourage the use of mobile phones or TV while eating as it may distract the child and lead to overeating.
- Make sure your child’s fluid intake is well-balanced to keep them hydrated and flush out toxins. Cold-pressed veggie juices and fresh coconut water can be of great benefit.
Parental modelling is a great way to teach healthy eating habits as a child’s eating schedule is highly influenced by the meal pattern their parents follow. As parents you need to empower yourselves with better information on nutrition and start eating whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried and packed foods. Your child is much likely to follow your lead.
Your child may not like every dish you give them so make sure it looks delicious enough that children crave to eat it. Colors and shapes fascinate kids so cut down vegetables in fun shapes and arrange them in interesting patterns on a plate before you offer this to your child. Serve him whole-wheat pancakes with fruits or a grilled-cheese sandwich. As long as it’s nutritious, it’s all good.
Never force your child to eat any particular food but try giving him substitutes. There are plenty of alternatives available to suffice the nutrition of your child. For e.g.- Small kids who refuse milk intake should be encouraged a lot of dairy products like curd, cheese, paneer, etc.
Growing kids need a lot of vitamins, calcium and other minerals for proper growth. A full stomach doesn’t mean that your child have had all the required nutrients so make them follow rainbow diet, which means including vegetables and fruits of all the colors. There are so many interesting ways you can spruce up green vegetables to make kids love them, such as wraps, tikkis, salads and etc.
Inculcation of nutritious eating habits at early stage will help your kids maintain a healthy lifestyle later.