Nutrition and right eating habits are the most crucial and yet, the most difficult to cultivate amongst children when they are in the growing age. The right food in the right composition of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients are not only good for a child’s physical growth but is also absolutely inevitable for the mental growth of the child. Of course we know this, right? but your child is a little too young to understand this. Hence, you have to be a little smart in the food that you give him. Your child will always be inclined more towards junk food, the likes of McDonalds paneer tikka burger, or maybe a KFC Veg Zinger are a delight for your child. Of course they are tasty but there is more that he needs for nourishment. More greeny, more rich in vitamins and minerals is what he/she needs at this age.
Possible effects of overweight or obesity in children
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
- Some types of cancer
- Social challenges and barriers
- Low self-esteem
- Being teased and bullied
- Not being able to keep up with peers
- Feeling isolated and alone
What can good nutrients give you?
- Healthy weight for height
- Mental well being—feeling good
- Clear thinking and school performance
- Strong bones and muscles
- Good energy level
- Ability to fight off sickness or disease
- Healthy healing of wounds
- Easy recovery from illness or injury
- Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers and bone diseases such as osteoporosis in the future
How can I help my child choose healthy foods?
It is a long run process, you can’t change your child’s habit in a day. Forcing your kid to choose the food you want him to eat is surely never going to help.
Reinforcement does help but again it can make your kid very demanding.
So what should you do??
Start by turning the boring yet healthy green food appealing. Small tricks and manipulation does do wonders. Eg: instead of serving a normal green salad, present the salad with interesting stories of fairies and monsters.
Garnish it in a shape of pizza or the things that your kid adores. Always remember punishing your kid for not eating the healthy food and rewarding him for eating it is a very wrong approach though it does provide you with all the satisfaction you wanted but.
This was just an example but I am sure you have got the hint. So come with some interesting and innovative ideas. And make every single meal so interesting that your kid eagerly wait to get the next one.
|Dietary guidelines for toddlers and young children|
|Fruits and vegetables||Two every day. could be given as snacks, such as apple or carrot slices. Or as soups or juices|
|Whole grains||Four servings daily. Can include buckwheat pancakes or multigrain toast for breakfast, a sandwich on wheat bread for lunch and brown rice or another whole grain as part of the evening meal.|
|Milk and dairy||Three servings or one pint of whole milk per day. Cheese, yogurt, and milk puddings are useful alternatives.|
|Protein||Two servings a day. Encourage your child to try a variety of proteins, such as turkey, eggs, fish, chicken, lamb, baked beans, and lentils.|
|Vitamins and minerals||Check with your pediatrician that their diet is adequately meeting the recommended nutritional needs for that particular age group|