As a mother, you probably, always worry about healthy habits of your children. Its always suggested to begin early so that your children get used to eating healthy foods right from the beginning weaning days. Generally, it is recommended starting your weaning journey with vegetables so that they can taste savory before sweet and a preference for sweet is not set. I followed the same exactly and started my weaning journey with both my children with vegetables like – carrots, beetroots, cauliflower florets, also kept altering between bananas and steamed apples.
Some very important points to remember in your journey towards healthy eating is
- Do not overfeed your child. Always follow your child’s lead
- If the child starts feeling distracted, stop feeding. For E.g. – starts looking here and there, throws food or plate, starts crying to get down from feeding chair
- Do not use a distraction to make your child eat. Avoid TV, mobile, dancing, moving or singing to the child during feeding time
- Keep a timeline of 20-25 minutes maximum for feeding, after that stop feeding
Here are some tips that helped me as a parent to raise healthy eaters; and can help you if you are struggling with a child who does not eat a lot
Grocery Shopping – Involve your children in grocery shopping. Let them pick and choose vegetables or fruits of the day. Ask what they would want to eat and prepare the same.
Get them all excited – Let’s agree that children like a show of emotions. Make a BIG deal, get them all excited. Educate them how vegetables/fruits that they chose are healthy for them. Read a little prior so that you can answer any questions
Small potions – Large portions tend to overwhelm children and instead of looking forward to enjoying food, children want to get away from it as soon as possible. Give real and practical portion sizes. Instead of giving 2 Roti / Bread– start with 1. Instead of one plate rice – start with one small bowl. Let the child eat what he has been offered to eat and if he asks for more; give more.
if you are compelled to offer food – ask the child – whether he wants more food or not. If the child says NO, respect that decision.
Eat together as a family- when kids see you eat the same foods, they are most likely to imitate the same and enjoy the food.
Serve meals at same times – children like and appreciate consistency. Don’t try to change their schedules a lot. Provide meals at the same times every day.
Limit milk – once the child is 1 year old, milk should be limited to 400-450 ml in a day only. The focus should be more on solid food at all meals. Milk can be severed as a mid-day meal.
Try different tastes and textures – many mothers cook the same food always and they hesitate to introduce tastes, textures, and shapes. It’s very important that children explore food and experience themselves. Make foods in different forms; add different ingredients for different tastes.
Encourage home cooked meals – as much as outside meal seem tempting, encourage home cooked meals every day. Restrict junk to once a week. Cook snacks that children like at home like pizzas, sandwiches or burgers
Cycle between foods. Introduce and cook all type of vegetables, lentils, and fruits. Keep an open palate yourself and so the child will also become the same. Encourage variety. You know how everyone says – Variety is the spice of Life!
Ensure children keep sipping water. Ideally, a child of 3-4 years needs 1 liter of water every day.
Practice what you preach – if you expect your child to be a healthy eater, practice the same. Eat and drink healthily in front of them. Advocate and encourage
Avoid sugar and deep fried – make it a practice to avoid this right from early age. Children love junk food and if it propagated regularly at home, they get influenced. You dont want this to b a struggle at your home, so stay safe and give healthy, home-cooked food more often.
Sleep – Ensure children have a good sleep pattern of sleep of 10-11 hours every day. This varies from age to age. Refer to this table from Parents.com as a guide to how much time children should sleep everyday.
Last but not the least – Never say Never. Do not feel discouraged. Its said if you follow a routine for 21 days – you make it a habit and so take this as a challenge and see the miracle happen right in front of you!
Pick any recipe from Google, depending on what ingredients you have at home and cook accordingly.
If you liked what you read or could relate to it – leave a comment for me, like and share this article with mothers you know. Until next time – God Bless!