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Every mother, everywhere, tries to make her child eat healthy foods. It is that one common pain point of all mothers. Why is it that despite our continuous efforts, kids don’t eat healthy foods? And making them eat healthy foods is such a daunting task. Mention words like chocolate, chips and junk food, and they will stop playing and come running for yummy treats. And the moment you decide to serve them simple ghar-ka-khana, and you will most likely hear a big ‘NO’. Dealing with fussy eaters can be frustrating. For me, the telltale signs of my child being a fussy eater were –
- Being engrossed in games and activities, he did not realise when he was hungry. I would call out to my son to eat his food, but it would be left on the table and would turn cold.
- Another situation which all mothers could relate to is that rush in the morning hours. We try to get things done in time, but in the end, there is hardly any time left to sit with the child and watch him have a hearty breakfast – the most important meal of the day. Scramming to make it in time, his breakfast would be a fruit, which he would eat on the way. And we all know having fruit for breakfast is obviously not sufficient.
- He would only eat a select variety of fruit & vegetables. We all know how important it is to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables as they are nutritious. But it was a real struggle to get him to eat all the veggies.
Kids are naughty, fussy, and energetic, and this is how we would want them to be. And that made me think that there have to be better ways to ensure that a child’s nutritional requirements are met.
So I tried to make my child eat healthy foods in my own ways.
These are some tips and tricks which I tried to make sure that my child gets a well-balanced diet –
- I made my child eat vegetables. He usually disliked having veggies in the mashed form. So I grated the veggies and added them in his parantha. This trick of sneaking in the veggies in parantha or chapati works well.
- His favourite junk food is pizza. To give him a healthier version of pizza, I simply replaced the pizza bread with a homemade parantha base. The processed cheese was replaced with paneer and we got a tasty yet healthy pizza at hand.
- French fries, which are also a favourite with children, can be given a healthy twist. Simply offer the healthier oven-baked potato wedges. Add some herbs and sour cream to complete the dish. My child loves it.
- Most kids do not enjoy drinking milk, and its supplements are loaded with sugar and lots of artificial flavours. A good alternative, which is tasty as well as healthy, is V-Nourish. It is a high-protein wholesome nutritional supplement, which is free of artificial flavours, preservatives, food colours and basically anything that is not suitable for children. It also helps in the growth and development of a child. It comes in yummy flavours, such as strawberry, choco cookies, kesar pista, and badam. A child can actually taste real badam, kesar and pista, and fruit chunks. V-Nourish mixes easily in cold and hot milk and tastes delicious. Kids will love it.
These are some creative ways to get children to eat healthy foods. We also have a reward system in place which works well with my child. If he eats healthy food throughout the week, then I let him have his favourite dessert over the weekend.
Another common concern that parents have is related to school tiffin, which often comes back unopened. I try to be creative with his tiffin and try some food art. With the use of cookie cutters which are easy-to-use, I make his food appear tempting. Cutting sandwiches in fun shapes and using different colours of food to make it pretty, works well.
Explaining my child the importance of nutrition and healthy eating habits also helped me to make him a less fussy eater. Kids are keen learners and when concepts are explained to them logically, as opposed to being forced upon them, they are more likely to follow.
When we serve food to our kids, we should make it fun and not something boring that they have to force down their necks. Involving kids in the cooking process, like letting them mix ingredients or plate up the food gives them a sense of accomplishment and connects them to the food they eat. We also do grocery shopping together which creates a sense of curiosity in him.
Lastly, cheering him and giving him a pat on the back when he eats without being fussy, reinforces healthy eating habits. We also hug our child when he eats healthy food. There is nothing like receiving a loving hug from mom and dad – it makes a child feel special. A well-nourished child is a happy child – one who can explore his potential to the fullest. As a mom, knowing that my child is well-fed and that he is getting all the fuel his body needs to become strong and intelligent, I am content.
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