Investing in early childhood nutrition is incredibly important for the growth and development of the child. A healthy mind and body are essential to living a healthy life.
If you’re just waking up, you probably haven’t eaten in at least 10 hours. Don’t head out before fueling up! Breakfast literally means “breaking the fast”. A healthy breakfast can give you and your kids a sharper mind, more energy, and better total nutrition for the day. A balanced breakfast includes protein, carbs, and fiber.
Does your child wake up early enough to have a healthy breakfast before heading to school? Setting a routine for young kids is a difficult yet important task to be done by parents. A good routine sets good habits from an early age. An ideal routine for a child includes waking up at least an hour before school, having milk and a little breakfast before leaving for school. Of course, remember biscuits is not breakfast!
Kids can be fussy when it comes to food.
Children need love. Children need boundaries. Children also need someone to look up to and learn from. Your job as a parent is to lead by example, modeling the kind of behavior that you want your kids to adopt. One of the easiest ways to get your child interested in eating vegetables and fruits is to eat yours. Be a good role model for your child. Toddlers love to do what parents do. The key is to keep trying and not get frustrated. Try new and interesting recipes for your child and sometimes even provide a combination of their favorite dish with something new. This is a learning process for both the child and the parent and it takes time for the child to acquire a taste for new food.
Here are some tips to make healthy eating a habit for your child.
- Do not fixate on the amount of food. Sometimes, it is all right if the child does not finish his meal.
- Do not make mealtimes a battle.
- Do pay attention to adopting healthy eating habits—including sitting as a family at mealtime.
- Do make healthy food choices as a family. Be a good role model for your child.
- Let your child eat food independently. It’s all right if he does not finish his food on somedays.
- Make greens fun and get innovative with your recipes. Mix vegetables into delicious soups, prepare vegetable puree for plates of pasta or even shred beetroot or carrots and mix them into burger patties.
- If your child does not drink milk then custard, fruit smoothies, buttermilk are good options.
- Introduce one new food at a time.
- Avoid sugary drinks and sugar-rich food from an early age. Offering sweets, ice creams, cold drinks as rewards lead to unhealthy eating in the future.
- Try and concentrate on multi-nutrient rich food, instead of calorie-dense foods.
- Identify the time when the child is hungry and plan meals accordingly.
- Make children eat small and frequent meals at least once in 2 hours.
- Restrict fluid intake before meals to ensure the child is not full before the meal.
- Promote healthy snacking habits from the very start.
- Say no to ‘screen time’ while eating food. So no television, mobile phones or iPads while eating.
Whether they are toddlers, preschoolers or teens, simply follow these healthy eating tips and tricks to make mealtime fun for your kids. Your children are not born with a craving for junk food and an aversion to cucumber and carrots. This habituation happens over time as kids are exposed to more and unhealthier food choices. Therefore, as parents, it is very important for you to help your kids make the right choice at an early age to develop good habits for the future.