Intelligent parents need to be innovative so that kids eat healthy. Healthy eating habits in children can be cultivated with awareness of right choice of food and a bit of creativity during the meal times
The world is worried about obesity in children and life threatening disease, yet we promote vigorously fast foods—burgers, pizzas, chips are the popular foods. When we were young eating out was a “once in a year” occasion, even party foods were made at home.
The other day my son-in-laws college mate was telling me how his one-year old daughter tested positive for sugar and so now he has completely stopped her from eating—sugar, sweets, chocolates and more. It’s scary the number of children developing diabetes and more.
Here are some tips to promote healthy eating habits with kids
No diets, just balanced meals
Even if a child is overweight one should not place the child on a diet. During the developmental years all children need balanced nutrition. Read up on nutrition and consult your pediatrician on what is the best schedule. Also try and create meals that your children would love, vary the tastes and see how the food is gobbled up.
A cousin of mine has twins who are really” double trouble”– she used to make small pancakes in animal shapes with carrot eyes and peas for a nose, in order to tempt the two four year olds to eat—the animals would have a red smile made with sauce and beet. S
o it’s possible for boring home food to become interesting for kids.
Have you tried freezing pieces of watermelon sprinkled with salt and a dash of pepper—it is extremely popular on a hot summers day. People in ancient times used to have seasonal meals, and this helped with digestion—try it and see how it works.
Explore healthy snacks
These days mothers have so many choices , did you know snacks can be healthy too. Kids love snacks that can be eaten on the go—so make sandwiches with whole wheat bread, offer cheese / vegetable sandwiches , create pizza mocks with whole wheat bread. Innovate make small cutlets and offer them to kids on sticks with a dip. Use plenty of fruits, nuts, yogurt and cereals to make the snacks.
The other day my daughter’s friend served hung curd sandwiches to the kids summer group—it was an easy yet delicious snack—whole wheat, hung curd garnished with coriander leaves, salt and pepper and a dash of green chilies that lent a tang.
Most veggies can be made into chips – raw banana, corn, colacasia, cluster beans and more. Introduce different tastes in children. Many children don’t like milk –offer the milk as custard, ice cream ( beat milk up with a fruit like strawberries, or apricots and freeze).
Make meal times fun
Just as a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down, a story at the table could get a toddler to eat his /her meal. My grandmother used to make small mountains of the rice and veggies and spoon each mountain into our mouths while relating wonderful stories of animals, birds, fairies, and demons. Try conversing with the child while he eats , discuss the day, seasons, siblings, festivals.
Healthy Eating Habits – final words
Let the child decide on the menu sometimes and see the delight on his/her face when the family eats. Another wonderful activity is to take the child to buy groceries, veggies, and fruits. This will get them interested in foods and help them learn about benefits and disadvantages.
Though healthy eating habits for children is of utmost importance, treat the kids to junk food once in a while but do not make it a habit to order out on a regular basis. If you are busy parents there are ways you can make cooking easy by undertaking preparations during weekends.