As a mom and nutritionist, I completely relate to the challenges of feeding our little ones in the healthiest possible manner, given the constraints of a busy and demanding schedule, especially when you have a picky eater at hand. Here are what I call, the ‘Golden Rules’ to help improve & broaden your child’s diet by introducing healthy foods and teaching them the relationship between health & food in a fun way.
1. Set a good example
- Your child imitates everything you do. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit. Your job is to offer nutritious food choices at meals and snack times.
- You decide the what, where, and when of eating.
- Your child’s job is to choose how much he or she will eat of the foods you serve. This will encourage your child to continue to trust his or her internal hunger gauge.
2. Respect Your Child’s Hunger
Young children tend to eat only when hungry, so don’t force feed. As growth slows its pace, kids tend to eat less.
3. Be Persistent in the Right Way
Most children need to try a new food 10-15 times before they develop a taste for it. So if your child has refused something once, does not mean that he will never eat it. Keep trying at different times.
4. Make Every Calorie Count
Offer your child foods that pack lots of nutrition into small doses like eggs, dates, prunes, nuts & dry fruits. Keep the empty calories like biscuits and cakes away.
5. Leave Taste Out Of It
Talk about the color, shape, aroma, & texture – not whether it tastes good.
6. Make it Accessible
You can designate a low shelf in the fridge or a small cupboard with you some of kids favorite (nutritious) foods and drinks.
7. Recruit Your Child’s Help
This is one of the best. You can get your kids help you select fruits and veggies in a store or with rinsing vegetables or stirring a cold batter or setting the table. Basically with anything that connects them to food in a better and fun way.
8. Minimize Distractions
Emphasize a strict no to TV, Ipad and any other distraction during meal and snack time. Emphasize on the relation between food & hunger, and food & health.
9. Share it
You can invite friends who ‘like to eat’ over for meal. Group feeding allows your child to learn from other children’s positive example.
10. How to make food fun for kids?
Call these finger foods playful names such as:
- apple moons (thinly sliced)
- banana wheels
- broccoli trees (steamed broccoli florets)
- carrot swords
- cheese building blocks
- Cucu O’s (o-shaped cucumber slices)
Place the food on an easy-to-reach table.
Hope this helps. If you have any queries you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +91 99676 35556
Uma Narula is a Nutritionist & Certified Diabetes Educator. She has worked with Sitaram Bhartia institute of Science & Research & Lilavati hospital in the past, before starting her own venture named Nutriguide.
Nutriguide is a unique nutrition platform which focuses on imparting nutrition education rather than just giving diet plans. Currently Nutriguide is associated with Nahar Medical Center, Splashnest Daycare, Eurokids, Head Ways international play school, Neptune Developers & Vijay Group. She has hands on experience in counseling patients and conducting various nutrition sessions & talks at schools, clinics & corporates. https://m.facebook.com/pages/Nutriguide/251845414849852