As young minds are like that perfect slate which takes what we write similarly these young bodies make sure if proper nutrition is given they become the perfect physical self that can help our little ones endure all that comes their way in the future.
Our children’s early years are arguably their most important and establishing healthy behaviors from birth will lay the foundation for lifelong health and wellbeing.
Nutritious food and regular physical activity supports the normal growth and development of children and reduces the risk of developing chronic lifestyle related diseases later in life.
Early childhood settings can play an important part in supporting healthy physical and cognitive development.
Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five groups every day:
- Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colors, and legumes/beans
- Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fiber varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
- Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat (reduced fat milks are not suitable for children under the age of two years).
Theoretically it sounds easy and application of the same on these young rebels is quite a challenging task. It’s important to get kids to eat healthy foods, but how to ensure they get the required nutrition?
Children can often be fussy eaters – and sometimes it’s hard to ensure kids receive the right nutrients and calories their growing bodies need.
Give kids enough food for their active lifestyle. Kids that are fussy maybe lacking nutrients hence find things that taste good for them like a chocolate flavored healthy milk additive.
Such accompaniments have a lot of advantages:
- They make a convenient meal accompaniment.
- An ideal option for fussy eaters or underweight children with small appetites, as they are a great way of boosting your child's calorie intake without having to force wholefoods on them.
- They contain essential vitamins and minerals to support growing bodies.
Simulation of mind and body is very essential and they often work in sync with each other.
Some tips, which can help you, make a better & wiser choice for your little one:
- You Control what comes in. You decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. Don’t succumb to your kids demands for those cream layered biscuits no matter how much they pester you. Kids won't go hungry. They'll eat what's available in the pantry.
- Let kids choose: You need to give them some liberty. Schedule regular meal and snack times. From the selections you made at the supermarket, let them choose what to eat and how much of it they want at least for snack time. If you follow step 1, your kids will be choosing only from the selection you have made for them at the supermarket.
- Don’t force feed: Let the kids decide when they are done. Finishing all on the plate should not be the motto.
- Start them young. Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer variety. Likes and dislikes begin forming even when kids are babies. You may need to serve a new food a few different times for a child to accept it. Don't force a child to eat, but offer a few bites. With older kids, ask them to try one bite.
- Calories IN DRINKS: Aerated drinks, sodas and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. These should be a complete NO NO. Water and milk are the best drinks for kids.
- Sweets as a bait: Don’t use sweets as a bait for meal time or any desirable behavior. Occasional sweets are fine. When dessert is the reward for eating dinner, kids naturally place more value on the ice-cream than the vegetable.
- You are the role model. Be a role model and eat healthy yourself. Never criticize food. When trying to teach good eating habits, try to set the best example possible.
- Restrict Screen time. Research has shown that kids who cut down on TV-watching also reduced their percentage of body fat owing to less mindless snacking. When TV and computer time are limited, they'll find more active things to do and you'll have more time to be active together.
Being a mother is the most challenging and at the same time most rewarding job. It also leads to a lot of self-doubt and this perennial fear that “I hope I am doing enough?” Make a wise choice today, spend quality time with your children helping them mold into beautiful young minds and make smart, wise and informed food choices to foster healthy nutritious food habits.
Image Credit: Trampoline Judge