Let us not forget, the aim of feeding a child is to give them a great future so that they can live happily, avoid sickness & have a healthy glow.
In my day-to-day practice, I have found that parents have become obsessed with food (a lot of influence from online knowledge) & the age-old mantra of ‘setting a good example’ is getting lost somewhere.
So let's discuss some easy mantras to help a stress-free and healthy association of children with their meals
1. Don’t allow them to skip meals. The easiest way to do that is to avoid giving them any food/treats etc around 2 hours before main meals.
2. Try keeping junk food & processed food minimum in your pantry. Let’s be honest, who does not like junk food? We all do. So, try keeping more healthy & fresh food at home
3. Let them get involved with food. Try not to keep them away from the kitchen. Let them do their own thing, even if it is a mess. This creates a healthy association with food
4. Set a good example. My mom used to say If you want your child to eat Papaya, eat it in front of them. So setting a good example of eating healthy, not skipping meals & avoiding unnecessary munching will reduce your struggles in encouraging your toddler towards healthy eating habits.
5. Don’t use TV or gadgets to feed. That is the worst habit. Feeding is the time when a child interacts and plays with the parent. Watching TV yourself & feeding your child, the same creates a tendency to overeating & weight gain in kids
6. Don’t use food as an incentive or punishment. Do let them develop an attitude of gratitude toward food
7. Don’t Force Feed. This can create a negative correlation with food
8. Do not substitute main meals. Preparing every-time a child's favorite item creates an imbalance in nutrients. Also, they might get into the habit of throwing tantrums & pick up junk food
9. Don’t limit your interaction with indoor activities. Spend time with them outdoors, playing or in any activity. This reduces screen time for all and builds a healthy appetite
10. fix a day weekly for their cravings. Indulging them in their cravings (sweet or spicy or even healthy outdoor food) weekly keeps them happy
The most important rule is to set a good example and not to stress. Eating all vitamins & minerals never made anyone a genius, while skipping a couple of meals does not harm growth.
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