Tips for Parents on Raising a Healthy Eater
Gone are the days when you could sneak veggies in your child’s pasta. As parents, you must understand that being healthy has less to do with what your children eat under supervision and more to do with how they feel about healthy mealtime routines as these feelings will stay with them throughout their lives.
Why is it necessary?
We must feed our children nutritious foods that meet their growth requirements. The structure and environment that parents provide when feeding, has an impact not only on nutrition but also on weight and behavioural issues. For eg.: children from families that regularly eat together eat more fruits and vegetables, have healthier weights and are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco as adults.
Here are a few tips on raising a healthy eater
● Start Early – A baby who is forced to finish a bottle, for example, may lose his ability to recognise his hunger cues. On the other hand, a toddler who gets fruits and vegetables on her plate begins to think of them as normal, tasty foods, rather than foods she is forced to eat.
● Become a role model – You can’t expect your child to prefer a vegetable over fries if your own diet is high in fat, sugar, and salt. Make healthy food choices and become your child’s guiding light.
● Think before you buy – Keep healthy snacks and drinks at home as this will inculcate healthy eating habits in your family.
● Build on the positives – When the child goes through a growth spurt and develops a larger appetite, take advantage of the opportunity to introduce new foods to their repertoire of old favourites.
● Let the kids choose – Try involving your children in the food shopping and preparation process. They will enjoy helping to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for the family. Make mealtimes a learning experience.
● Enlighten & Expose – Look up the various food groups like lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy or non-dairy alternatives, grains, and fat together to find out what nutrients and vitamins they provide. Enlightening them with food knowledge will help them make better choices.
● Never bribe – Using candies or other desserts as a bribe to get children to eat something else can send the message that doing the right thing should come with a monetary reward. A healthy body, not a truffle pastry, is the true reward of good nutrition.
● Be patient – There’s a reason your 15-month-old eats everything and your 4-year-old is pickier. The majority of these factors are explained in terms of a child’s development and growth. Instead of being surprised, knowing what to expect helps parents become more confident and effective feeders.
Your little one may be unwilling to try new foods especially if they have not been exposed to those meals consistently. To relieve stress, talk to a nutritionist. Kanupriya Khanna is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.