The first year of life is characterized by rapid developmental changes related to eating. As infants gain truncal control, they progress from sucking liquids in a supine or semi- reclined position to eating solid foods in a seated position.
Whether your child is a toddler, a preschooler or a teenager, nutrition plays a very important role in the lives of all and inculcating healthy eating habits among them will always be a cumbersome task. The key to this lies in early teaching and implementing healthy eating practices. Evidences have indicated that dietary habits acquired during the childhood persist throughout the life and with time they are tough to change.
Below mentioned are some of the good feeding strategies:
- Allow kids to eat five to six small meals per day.
- Replace fried foods with healthy snacks such as baby carrots, whole wheat pancakes, etc.
- Try adding a twist of nutrition in the same old monotonous unhealthy recipes. E.g.- Instead of giving regular muffins, bake ragi muffins at home.
- Choose healthy sources of protein such as paneer, nuts and eggs.
- Avoid feeding too many sweetened beverages (especially bottled); rather encourage them to drink plenty of water or prepare homemade refreshing beverages such as lemonade, mint shikanji etc.
- Involve your child in menu preparation and planning- It is very important to involve your child in menu planning activities as they learn healthy eating habits more efficiently by practically doing things themselves.
- Use the hungriest time to feed the most nutritious meal followed by small and frequent meals. Ex- When a child is back from school, give him/her a wholesome lunch rather than milk or unhealthy snack.
- Restrict eating to dining table/ kitchen. You’ll save your children countless calories from mindless munching in front of the TV.
- Don’t be fooled by labeling gimmicks. Foods marketed as low-fat or fat-free can still be high in calories. Likewise, foods touted as cholesterol-free can still be high in fat, saturated fat and sugar. Check nutrition labels to find out the whole story.
- Out of sight, out of mind. If the cookie jar is full, your children will probably clamor for cookies. But if there aren’t any cookies in the house, fresh fruit or raw veggies may seem more appealing.
- Make it easy for older children to help themselves. Keep a selection of ready-to-eat veggies in the refrigerator. Leave fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter.
- Practice what you preach. Let your children catch you munching raw vegetables or snacking on a bowl of fruits and nuts.
- Be patient. Your children’s eating habits may not change overnight. Look for positive
Ms. Sandhya Pandey
Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram
For appointment or more information,
call 0124 4962200 / 7162200
Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Sector – 44, Opposite HUDA City Centre, Gurugram, Haryana 122002 l Ambulance: 105010 l www.fmri.in