Child's nutrition 2019: Slowly and gradually encourage your child to eat healthy
New Year 2019 is only a few hours away and we are trying to our best to spread awareness about ways to have a happy and healthy 2019. In this article we will talk about child's nutrition and some effective tips to encourage your child to eat clean and healthy. This year, celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar also released a book on child's nutrition, thus raising awareness about its relevance in the present times. Also in the bandwagon is lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho, who talks about how difficult it is to get to children to eat the right foods. In a blog post on his website, he talks about some nutrition goals for your child in 2019, which can help him/her have a fit and healthy future.
According to Luke, children aged between 2 years to 12 years are picky eaters. They tend to fret over food choices and would also ways feel delighted to have a burger or pizza over a dal, rice, chapatti and sabzi. Children at this age grow at a rapid pace and they need good nutrition for proper growth and development.
Here are some tips to improve your child's nutrition in 2019
1. Include good quality of carbs in your child's diet
Avoid giving unhealthy carbs to your child in the form of white bread, even though it seem to be convenient. Opt for low glycemic index carbs for your child like unprocessed oats, single polished hand-pounded rice, chapattis made from wheat flour or bajra flour, etc.
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2. Folate is important your child
Folate is very important for mothers-to-be and children in their formative years. Folate rich foods include chickpeas, Brussels sprouts, spinach, legumes, asparagus, beetroot, citrus fruits, broccoli, eggs, nuts, seeds, papaya and bananas to name a few. It is quite less likely that your child will adapt to these foods easily. You can introduce these foods to them by talking about their different colours, textures and shape. You can begin by serving these foods to children in small quantities initially. This will give child the time to develop an appetite for them.
3. Try to serve food to your children in interesting and colourful combinations
It is not absolutely necessary that healthy foods need to be boring too. You can create a bowl of salad with carrots, peas, cucumbers, broccoli and add a delicious homemade side dip to enhance taste. You can eat different kinds of fruits in yogurt or serve them oats loaded with nuts and berries. This will make for healthy and delicious snacking for your child.
Encourage healthy eating habits in your child by serving food in interesting and colourful combinations
Photo Credit: iStock
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4. Schedule your child's meals
Remember that the earlier you inculcate these habits in your child, the sooner the child will learn to adapt them at ease. Luke mentions his post that children should ideally consume 4 to 6 short meals in a day, with 3 main meals and 2 snacks, along with lots of water. As a parent, you simply need to accomplish this goal and your child will get all the desired nutrients.
5. Lead by example
You cannot be gorging on comfort food yourself and expect your child to eat healthy. A child wants to do what s/he sees around. Children learn more from what you do and what you don't. The onus of creating a healthy environment for the child is on the parents. Work towards spending quality family time by eating nutritious meals together. Lead by example for your child and be a good role model as parents.
6. Introduce healthy habits gradually so they learn to follow them forever
As mentioned above, start small and slow. Do not force feed your child and wait for him/her to feel hungry and ask for food. Children are more likely to resist the food that is forced on them. Allow the child the space to develop liking towards these foods. You could give them (only) positive examples of how their favourite superhero or actor and actress eat the same food. Also, avoid feeding your children in front of a TV, tablet or mobile phone. Teach your child the art of mindful eating.
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7. Engage children in cooking
Engaging children in cooking gives them confidence and agency of taking charge of things. Not only does it make the child feel more empowered, it also makes him/her more interested in the food. You can also take your child out for grocery shopping and allow him/her to buy veggies of his/her choice. It is a way to make him/her learn about healthy eating as well as a way boost his/her self-esteem, at the same time.
8. Do not reward your child with sweets or chocolates
It is all fine as far as it is extremely occasional. However, the very idea of wooing your child with chocolates is bad and must be avoided. It gives the child the message dessert is the tastiest course of meal. Reward your child with a hug, or by telling him/her how great son or daughter s/he is. You can also reward them with an hour of playtime. Avoid using sweet treats like chocolates, biscuits, candies and cakes to get your way with the child, mentions Luke.
(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.