Friday, March 18, 2011

The little ones

Getting your children to be cooperative at mealtime may be quite a task.
At this time of their lives it is of utmost importance that children are taught and introduced to healthy food habits.
This means that they should have the proper models in order to adapt this sort of behavior.
Below are some guidelines to achieving this with minimum resistance:
Feel free to make your own suggestions below:

  1. Small meals more often: They are small human beings, accept this. This being said, children's stomach are smaller and they are also much more active, this means they will need more food per body weight than an adult. This coupled with the fact that they are growing. In order to account for this,  you have to plan smaller meals more often through out the day. This ensures that your children are consuming the recommended amount of food that they need to be healthy. It also negates the supper time refrain of " I'm not hungry". When you do hear this, you don't have to force feed or worry that they are really hungry, because  you would have the assurance that they have been eating during the day.This requires planning on your part but that is a part of the hardwork that need to be done to achieve the results.
  2. Practice what you preach : Children are young and therefore all experiences are new experiences, share these experiences with your little ones by inviting them to assist in meal preparation, if its even by having them tell you about their day while you cook, or taking something out of the Refrigerator. This will instill a sense of pride in the meal and there will be much less hassle  at meal time. 
  3. Experiment with favored and not so favored foods:  As was said before, every experience is new in a child's world, the trick is to ensure that these experiences are positive. If children don't like fruits, maybe fruit juices can be given. If they don't like vegetables, maybe, cutting them into to exciting shapes and adding cheese may encourage them to try. 
  4. Avoid giving your child something that you would never eat: Children are very observant and as of such they will be looking to see what is consumed and what is not being consumed by their parents. You are they're nutrition models, they will therefore like and dislike the same things that you do. Children don't have different taste from you, in fact their taste buds are much more sensitive. It is therefore best if you remember that if you don't like the taste of something, your children will not like the taste of it either. Fair is fair. Taste the commercial "baby foods ", If you don't like it, don't give it to the poor child. Be more creative. As the previous point states, Experiment!!
  5. Avoid using food as a reward or a punishment: Food is something you need to survive. We all want our children to have a healthy relationship towards food. Using food as rewards or punishment gives it a power and amount of control that it ought not to have. This may lead to disordered eating (different from eating disorders) and obesity in later life for your children. 
  6. Educate yourself : Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to your children. They deserve the best. "I didn't know" just won't cut it. Information is rife on the internet, and there are ways in which you can contact real highly trained professionals to help you with any queries on your child's nutrition. Get out there and do your research.
If we look back into our own childhood, we can identify many instances where our encounters with food have influenced our food choices today. This gives much credibility to the call to parents to think about the Nutrition of our children and put them first. 
I can attest to being taught to eat everything on my plate, a habit that still places me at risk even today, with my knowledge of proper nutrition. I don't like porridge because this is what i was fed the most as a child.

Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Pass this on to young parents as well as experienced parents. 
Feel free to comment below.


Sailor said...

This is really Interesting!

Tanya said...

Thank you very much Sailor,
Tell a friend.