Us mothers are most obsessed with food for kids. When it comes to our little angles., what is healthy is not usually accepted by the our prince / princes and what readily meets their approval does not rank high on health meter. The daily war on the dining table can unnerve even the bravest of the souls. Sounds like your own little story?
I must admit that I was baffled by the problem of finding the right food for kids. But I have not found an effective solution that I want to share here. First of all, RELAX!!! Meal time must be fun time for you and your little ones, so let us avoid wars. I realized that meals need to be made interesting and fun rather than the compulsory “you must eat your vegetables” challenge. Also, we adults do not like force or pressure about food items, the same applies to the kids and to a much greater extent. We need to make it fun so that they are attracted to the right foods. I am sharing some tips based on my own observations
No pressure please!
Don’t force them for eating beyond their appetite. Our body signals our dietary requirements to our minds and we eat when we need it. So ideally there should be no need to force. If the child does not eat for one meal time or even a day, it should not drive you into a hyper-worry mode.
Several small meals
Dietician and doctors advises several meal a day instead of 3 heavy meals at set time. Serving small quantities at higher frequency will give them nutrition just when they need it and also help you serve a healthy mix spread over 4-6 tiffin sized meals. You can mix and match food items to ensure healthy food finds its place in their daily intake
If u really want them to eat properly , u need to think out of the box. Dal, sabzi, chapatti and rice are healthy foods but can get boring at times, especially if served twice a day for 7 days a week. Make different combo and taste with different sizes and shapes. Food is as much about taste as it is about look and feel. Make it attractive. Add new shapes and colors to make the routine food interesting and tempting.
Be flexible and patient
There can be reasons behind why your child says “NO” to the food. You need to be flexible and open. Try to find out the reason why he /she is not keen on the food. May be he is already eaten something or he is not having his motions properly or he has not had enough play time today to burn the calories. What ever it is, try to find the real reason.
Do not take short cuts
Never substitute a healthy meal with junk food. It will do more harm than you can imagine in the longer term. Please give them healthy, home cooked food from early on. Colas can be replaced with fresh fruit juice or badam and chandan sharbat summer to keep them cool. Noodles must be replaced with fruits or home made rolls. Similarly salty pop corn must be replaced with steamed corn made at home. Serve them healthy rajma , soyabean , oats, jawari , nachni atta etc.
In my next article on the same topic of healthy food for kids, I will provide some healthy and easy to prepare recipes that I have used. Till then, keep serving the home cooked food with lots of helping of love and care.