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As a parent, you want to give your child the best of everything. You want him to have a balanced and wholesome diet, so that he grows up into a healthy and strong individual. But are you unsure about what makes a great diet for your toddler? Learn here, how you can go about choosing good food for your pre-schooler so that he benefits from the intake of required nutrition, important for his growth.
It is necessary to include a diverse variety of food items in your child’s diet to keep it well-balanced and wholesome. Grains, veggies, fruits, meats, beans, milk or milk products – all are very essential to fulfill your pre-schooler’s hunger pangs. Not all children happily devour vegetable salads or fruits, do they? Some children cringe at the name of milk or yoghurt; others run and hide when you serve them rotis or rice at the dinner table.
In order to ensure that a child eats a wholesome plate, parents often don on their creative hats and set about camouflaging and making attractive recipes to entice their young ones. So fruits become fruit juices, veggies get smashed or souped, milk becomes milk-based shakes and so on. Some parents opt for canned food, exotic varieties and processed food to make meals attractive to their children. However, you should be aware that all this camouflaging might actually end up eroding the nutritional value of a food item.
Tips to Choose the Right Foods for your Preschooler
- As far as possible, try to serve food fresh. Considering today’s busy lifestyle, this almost seems a luxury. Still, it is a good idea to cook fresh food and serve whenever possible.
- Avoid processed and canned food as much as possible. They are no doubt great for convenience, but their nutritional value is much diminished as compared to fresh food.
- Have you ever come across an article online that talks about how great broccoli or zucchini is for your preschooler? Do you live in a region where these veggies are not grown locally? Then, you could try other healthier alternatives that are native to the region you live in. It is a well-researched fact that the farther a food is to its point of origin, the lesser is its nutritional value.
- Do not overcook the food. In order to make eating easier for their children, some parents tend to cook veggies till they are soft and can be mashed and just gulped away. Don’t do this, as it affects the nutritional value of vegetables.
- Avoid clear fruit juices. It is recommended that your child eats fruits in their whole form. But if she wants them as juices, give her a juice without straining away the fruit fibers. The fibers are essential to facilitate digestion and bowel movement, and by removing them, you would be taking away an essential part of nutrition from your child’s diet.
- Try and avoid sugars and other sweeteners. They are high on calorie content, and are also the major culprits for tooth decay in small children.
- Fats are not always bad. Essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 are very much required for your child’s growth. These can be found in vegetable oils or olive oil, certain fish and food items. Using them in moderation can bring about great benefits for your child.
Always ensure that mealtimes are family times. Sit together, enjoy each other’s company and relish the food you eat. The reason being, when your child sees you enjoying your food and having a good time, she will also follow the suit, and will more readily accept good food, than otherwise.