The most common dilemma faced by most parents is the quality of nutrition to be given to their children. Most children, right from a very tender age begin to develop a characteristic fussiness for food.
This needs to be nipped in the bud effectively. Fussy babies and toddlers grow up to have very strong likes and dislikes when it comes to food. Here are some effective ways of inculcating good food habits in children.
Good Eating Habits for Children
Respect for Meal Timings
You need to inculcate in the child a certain respect for meal timings. This is done by ensuring that your child eats his/her meals on time. Nibbling on small eats just before a meal should be discouraged.
Be Careful About your Own Likes and Dislikes
Kids pick up a lot from their parents so make sure that you don’t have strong likes and dislikes for food. If at all you do, refrain from voicing your food opinions in front of the child. This will influence his tastes and preferences for food.
Young children especially toddlers can be quite fussy when it comes to food. However kids should not be forced to eat especially if they are not hungry. Forcing the child to eat may make the child stubborn and obstinate. Never bribe the child with toys, candy or chocolates to get him to eat his/her food. This will make the child dependent on sugary foods and candy. It also promotes attention seeking behaviour.
Kids hate monotony and routine. More often than not, they don’t eat because you have served them the same dish with the same ingredients over and over again. Vary the recipe by using different ingredients. Go in for garnishing and present the dish in a creative manner to arouse the child’s interest.
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Use healthy ingredients and prepare the dish in a tasty manner. For example you can get your child to have milk in the form of smoothies and milk shakes rather than pure milk. Eggs can be served in soufflés, custards and Spanish omelettes.
Encourage the child to eat independently. Let the child be near the food and allow him to make a mess. This will teach him skills on how to eat independently which is very important.
Make It Personal
Meal times are times strictly between the child and the mother so don’t rush it. Spend adequate time with the child and allow him/her to eat it at his/her own pace. Never try to distract the child with television in order to get him/her to eat the food.
Keep It Simple
Keep the food simple to eat. Toddlers can be fed semi-solid or semi-liquid foods just so that they can chew effectively. Give small portions. Use good cooking practices like steaming and broiling instead of frying. Fried food will only make the child obese.
Encourage the child to eat one or two healthy snacks in between his/her meal like fruits or a very small sandwich. This will also prevent them from snacking on soda or junk food.