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One day I visited my friend after almost six odd months as we had both been busy with various events in between. We decided to catch up for lunch. Our children are almost the same age so they play together, giving us time to chat. While I was busy with Christmas and holidays, she was busy with weddings and funerals. Sad but true, the loss of a loved one really shatters you.
When her son, Calvin, was a baby, she would always grind the food for him. Like many mothers, she would mix a few foods that the adults in the house ate, and throw them in the grinder which would make a paste of what they were eating for dinner. I imagined how a paste of dal, rice and vegetable would taste. Calvin did not seem to like it at all. Now, six months later, she was still feeding him the same way. I wondered why and waited for the kids to find something to play with so I could ask her to clear all the doubts I had running through my mind. Finally, my daughter, Chryzelle, found a toy that made Calvin chase her for it. Thankfully, a child finds a toy more appealing when it is in another child’s hand.
Anyway, as soon as they went into the garden, I caught hold of my friend, Sarah, and asked her why she still tortured her son with this kind of food. According to her, Calvin was never hungry. Even if he was, he would only munch on chips and the like. It would take her around an hour to get done with feeding him lunch or dinner. He would, by no means, eat by himself. Otherwise, Calvin was a smart boy who spoke like he was ten years old already. He was only three. He would respond if asked a question. He would do what he was told. He would sleep when he was supposed to. Food was the only thing he detested.
I suggested we try something new with Calvin, now that Chryzelle was there to give him company. Maybe, what we were giving him was not as per his liking. The next day I prepared a chicken sizzler which sat between a heap of mashed potato and steamed vegetables. I gave the kids a plate each with pieces of the grilled chicken, a few vegetables and a little mashed potato. Distracted with each other’s stories and following Chryzelle, Calvin licked his plate clean. Sarah was shocked. We ate while the kids got some television time to themselves. An hour later, as Chryzelle has the habit of drinking Junior Horlicks in milk, I gave them both a cup each. Calvin swallowed it in about five minutes.
While the kids took their afternoon nap, Sarah told me she wasn’t sure she could believe her eyes so she would follow this every day and I was to come next weekend to repeat this. I did and got the same result. Now every single day, he eats by himself and drinks his milk an hour later. His mother is happy and so is he.
I have seen my friends’ mothers push food down their children’s mouth until they were so sick of eating that they would throw up. It did not matter whether my friends liked their mother’s home cooked food or not. It did not matter if it was filled with protein or just carbohydrates and spice. It was prepared, so they had to eat it. These friends have become obese due to overeating. There is a belief that chubby children are healthy but this is not true. They just grow into huge and lethargic couch potatoes.
Children are required to eat nutrient filled healthy food to be active all day. They know what they like and what not. Once you give them simple food, they know exactly which foods they want in future. There are chances that they are also able to tell you when they are hungry. Then, in order to give them the nutrients they miss out on through regular food, you give them a glass of Junior Horlicks preferably in warm milk. Everyone will sleep well. Sarah swears by this.