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April 2011
Good Eating Habits for the Healthy Child
Anju Poddar
 
Good eating habits start from early childhood and last a lifetime. Getting your child to appreciate a wide variety of vegetables, fruit and flavours is essential in order to develop good eating habits. Amidst today's hectic schedules, parents sometimes find it more convenient to cook something instant and less time-consuming, which the child will eat.

Therefore, often the child does not get to explore new food territories. Just a little effort will save a lot of worry and meal time battles in years to come.

It is important to remember that it takes a child 6 to 7 tries to accept or start enjoying a new vegetable or dish - so don't give up. Keep trying and your child will start appreciating multiple dishes in years to come.

Plate Up to Perfection
Be innovative with food when introducing new items - style the plate nicely, making it look creative, fun and appealing. Cut fruit and vegetables in interesting shapes and create a visual delight on the plate!

The Bad Practices
  • Do not make meal times a battleground. Let the children have as much as they wish, otherwise anxiety and bad food associations would develop.
  • Don't make children eat while watching television. They do not understand what they are eating and they do not learn to appreciate food. This may be a tempting idea on very busy days, when you want to relax, but avoid doing this.
  • Don't mix everything together when feeding your child - let your child experience the texture, flavour and fragrance of what he or she is eating.
  • Avoid snacking in between – this reduces hunger when its mealtime.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Make a weekly menu before hand, perhaps on a Sunday. This will allow you to ensure that your child is getting the right nutrition and is getting something from all the food groups. This will also prevent the menu from becoming too repetitive and boring and will allow you to introduce something new and interesting every other day. Children, like adults, get bored of eating the same kind of food all the time.

A good day’s meal (for a vegetarian household)
  • 7.00 am: Breakfast
    Banana,Porridge or a bowl of cereal
     
  • 10.30 am: Tiffin
    Fruit,Sandwich/moong salad/talmakhana

  • 1.00 pm: Lunch
    Pasta vegetable bake
     
  • 4 pm: Tea
    Fruit, a glass of flavoured milk
     
  • 7.30 pm: Dinner
    Potatoes,Bhindi,Dal,roti
Take your child to the supermarket with you - they will love buying new fruit and vegetables. It will make them excited about trying the new fruit and vegetables they have chosen!

Finally children see their parents as role models - so it might be good time to get our diet in order too!!!
 
Anju Poddar is a successful home maker fascinated by Hindu traditions and festivals.She has authored four well received books,the latest being Meals,Menus&More


    
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