Nutrition is one of the building blocks of good health and inculcating good eating practices is a parental responsibility.
All of us deal with the challenge of children shying away from physical activity, and thus it is vital to have a healthy dietary habit, now more than ever.
The child’s eating habits, like most others, are influenced by their surroundings and of course their parents. Parents are the first people they watch eat – if parents eat healthy children automatically take up healthy eating habits. Besides adhering to a healthy diet themselves parents must consider other options to ensure their wards eat healthy and grow.
- Have a fix schedule of breakfast, lunch and dinner – this ensures that children get into a habit of eating at a proper time. Their body clock gets accustomed to this schedule and there will be minimal fuss when they sit down to eat.
- Avoid distractions such as TV or video games while eating. Given that the child’s attention span is rather short – it is very possible that he or she will quickly get disinterested in eat. Instead use the dinning time to bond with your child by indulging in a conversation. Conversations help the child come around to your point of view and thereby ‘accept’ your suggestion of ‘three more morsels’ to finish it!
- Shake up the menu such that there is something different and interesting each day – if not each meal. Children enjoy novelty and are more open to trying new things. Anything that’s palatable and introduced well will become a life-long habit and you won’t need to force the child the next time.
- Keep the focus on feeding the child adequately rather than feeding him more. More doesn’t always translate into better growth or health. It is very likely that excessive feeding the child will only make him lazier and thereby unhealthy. Also it is plausible that the child will not retain any of the nutritional elements because there is only so much that the body can absorb.
- Eating time could be made fun if you can make a game out of it. Small rewards or just the thrill of ‘winning’ the content will spur the child to eat right. The idea of the game is to incentivize the child rather than distract him from food altogether.
We can notice in our own lives that we refrain from vegetables that weren’t frequently cooked at home; or that we are unsure of trying a particular dish because as children we didn’t find it palatable – this clearly illustrates that our family and parents lay down the marker for our eating habits that stay with us for the remainder of our lives. If our child has to eat right and eat everything he or she should – the onus lies with us as much as it does with them!