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Working parents, school-going kids, and no time – that is what defines our lives today. As parents who are busy trying to make a good living to afford a good life for their children, we are very familiar with the stress of feeding them the right food. Parents try their best to cook healthy and nutritious food for their little ones, but sometimes they loosen the reins either because they’re too tired or too guilty of not spending enough time with their little ones.
Problems like heart disease, diabetes and vitamin and mineral deficiencies are on the rise because of the availability of fast food. It’s hard to get your child to eat healthy in today’s environment, but there’s always a way to get it right.
Why Is Healthy Eating Important for Kids?
Well, this one is simple – kids need healthy food to become well-functioning individuals. Childrens’ bodies and minds are still developing, and to get their systems to function right, they need an array of nutrients that different food groups provide. A child’s growth and development is dependent on the food she eats, and that’s why it’s important to feed her the right things in the right amounts. A healthy diet comprises a good balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients aid in proper brain function, well-working limbs, joints and bones, and good mental health. Skipping out on healthy food can cause weight gain, lethargy, slow brain function, and mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Whole grains are grains that have their fibre, vitamin and mineral content intact. When grains like wheat, rice, etc. are processed, the fibrous endosperm is removed, making the grains refined. These refined grains contain carbohydrates but lack the nutritional value that is great for the body. Eating whole grains is beneficial for kids and adults alike, and constantly eating refined flours can prove to be harmful in the long run.
Intelligent Ways to Make Your Kids Eat Whole Grains
We know that it can get difficult to make your kids eat healthy food, but there are some sneaky and smart ways to do it! Now, remember that this is something you as parents will have to practice on a regular basis so that it becomes a habit in the household.
Here’s how you can get your child to eat whole grains without a fuss –
1. Swap your child’s favourite dishes with healthier alternatives.
Your child may crave some unhealthy food instead of the usual roti-sabji, and we know how adamant they can get! If your child is a fan of red sauce pasta, you can switch from wheat pasta to whole wheat pasta that is easily available in stores. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make fresh pasta out of atta at home yourself! Similarly, if your child loves Chinese-style fried rice, you can switch from white rice to brown rice or quinoa. If you’re looking for a simpler swap, change your regular, sugary breakfast cereal for Timios Crunchies Breakfast Cereal which is made of whole grains such as wheat, ragi and oats, and natural sources of sugar. Your child can eat this as it is or with milk like regular cereal. This simple practice can be a healthy win-win for both you and your child!
2. Make healthy eating fun.
You might have to wake up a little early for this one! Often in school, kids gravitate towards their canteen’s samosas, wada pavs or chips because they look tempting. If you want to get your child to open her dabba and actually eat what you’ve given her, you could do that by cutting up the food in fancy, cute shapes and make them cartoon-like! You could make a bunny-shaped chutney sandwich by cutting the bread slices in a round shape and adding the leftover bread pieces as ears, or cut carrots and beetroot in the shape of flowers using a cookie cutter. There are many ways you can make your child’s meals and snacks creative, and we’re sure she will love opening her lunch box everyday for a cute surprise!
3. Refined flour should be an occassional activity.
Simply not having refined flour at home can prompt you to make snacks and foods out of whole grains. When going grocery shopping, ditch the maida and buy your regular atta in a larger quantity. If maida is something you might need sometime, buy the smallest packet you can get. When you create an environment for your child where she is exposed to whole grains like brown rice, daliya, quinoa, buckwheat, etc. often, she will get used to the taste and texture of them. She will then grow up to prefer those foods herself!
4. Practice what you preach.
Kids learn less with words and more with actions! You can keep telling your child that she shouldn’t eat junk food, but it will not stick if she sees you eating the same. Thus, practice the same things you teach your kid. Again, having an environment where you don’t have unhealthy ingredients in large quantities at home can be helpful in you and your child adopting healthy food habits.
5. Fill your child’s appetite with healthy snacks.
We know it’s impossible to get your child to constantly eat fruits and green veggies – sometimes you’d want to treat her for doing well in school or because she’s hurt or sad. It’s a misconception that all packaged food available in the market is bad for you – you just need to find the right snacks! Timios Zookers and Timios Melts are little snack bites that are the perfect mix of healthy and tasty as they are made of whole grains through and through. Every time you feel like treating your child or indulging a little, let her munch on these delicious treats. She’ll be super happy!
6. Show them how you cook.
When your child is accustomed to receiving the finished product on her plate, she is less likely to appreciate it. When you involve your kid in the process of cooking – the colours of different foods, what goes into cooking them and what they taste like before and after cooking them, she is more likely to feel like she has partaken in the process, thus appreciating the food more. When you familiarise your child with food this way, she is likely to build a good relationship with it. This is beneficial for when you’re making a switch from refined grains to whole grains – the colour, texture and taste can be a fun experiment for your child to observe!
7. Reward their healthy choices.
Positive reinforcement works well on children. You could devise a system where if your child eats all the food you’ve given her through the week, she will be rewarded with a treat on the weekend. For a fussy eater in particular, you can keep a small treat in her lunch box every now and then so she gets excited to open her lunch box every day. Timios Mini Oaty Bites are a great treat option – these bite-sized pieces of oats with the goodness of berries, fruits, and nuts will give your child the sweetness of natural sugars, so her sugar cravings go away and she’s happy through the day. This way, your child will slowly understand the benefits of eating healthy food!
Kids watch and learn things. Today, we’re surrounded by countless unhealthy food options that can make it difficult for your child to eat better, but there’s always a solution to these problems. Timios has a range of healthy snacks that are not only delicious, but also can be eaten by children as young as 9 months! With these simple hacks, you can get your child to get the nutrition of whole grains while they satiate her taste buds.