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As a mother to a super active daughter, the foremost concern was to ensure a daily nutritious diet for her to gain healthy weight. From the day we introduced solid food to her, I started giving her fresh, home-cooked meals with nutritional varieties. Though ready-to-eat foods were also kept as a backup to bring some change in the palate, thankfully, she never preferred the taste and resisted them every time I tried to feed.
Your kid must develop healthy eating habits from the beginning as they will be carried forward for a longer time in their growing years. Sometimes due to unforeseen and unavoidable reasons, preparing a fresh meal can take a back seat. But during that phase, too, I pushed myself to make something quick. Like most toddlers, my little one was also not very fond of eating vegetables; however, I made sure she consumed them in the form of fresh juices and soups. Until now, I have ensured adding seasonal fruits and vegetables in different forms to her regular diet.
Raising a child with good food habits can be a mammoth task, but this can easily be achieved if we try to inculcate the following practices.
- Try not to force-feed the baby as it might act as a booster for resistance to food
- Make eating a fun time. Keep talking and playing with the baby to make this time interesting for them.
- Do not run around while feeding. Sit at the dining table or a quieter place with a minimum distraction.
- Initially, include all types of vegetables and fruits in the diet as it will help you find out their favorite foods, along with the ones they do not prefer. Try different cooking methods and recipes to prepare the dishes to make them more interesting for your child.
- Do not give up if the child resists one food initially. Take a break and add the same item again in their meals after a few days. Their taste buds keep changing as they grow up.
- Never compare your child’s development milestones with that of other children. Every baby is different, and comparing would mean stressing yourself and putting pressure on the child.
- As long as possible, avoid giving sweets and packaged foods. After a certain age, it won’t be easy to control them from eating junk, therefore keep them as treats only once a week/month, even then after they turn two years of age.
- Politely make the relatives or the visitors understand not to directly give packaged foods (chocolates, chips, candies, etc.) to them as they quickly become smart enough to know how and from whom to extort junk foods.
- After a year of introducing solid foods, try to eat as a family together to exhibit the importance of family time, and the child will develop a habit of smart eating.
- Kids follow their parents a lot. Therefore, make sure you too eat healthy food and snacks.
- Involve your kids in grocery shopping and preparing food at home to build their interest and involvement.
Intake of adequate nutrition from childhood is critical not only for physical growth but also for mental development. Acquiring healthy eating habits is directly proportional to a long and wholesome life.
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