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A mother carrying a toddler around, showing the kid birds and butterfly for a good two hours just to ensure that she has managed to shove that bowl of khichdi down his throat. Doesn’t it sound familiar? After all, meal time with toddlers is nothing less than a war for most moms and once you have managed to feed him adequately, it’s like half the battle won.
Kids are not always fussy eaters, rather they could be picky eaters. After all, their taste buds are evolving and they are experimenting with food. They may not like anything and everything. But we as moms fail to understand few basic factors while feeding our child. As a result, the mealtime becomes more of a chore than a time to share and bond. Here’s few simple guidelines to ensure happy meal time with your kid without fussing too much and adding that stress to yourself and the child.
1. Less is more- We as parent often fail to understand the portion size of our child’s meal. We expect them to eat a full bowl or complete 1 full chapatti etc. However, the fact is each child can test their own intake capacity and they are the right judge to determine their portion. If a child loses interest after few bites and starts to play with the food instead, it’s time to end the meal. Less is more, however, please ensure that these small portion contains fresh veggies, pulses, grain so that a balance nutritional level can be maintained. Avoid junk before mealtime so that the child is hungry enough.
2. How to give compact nutrition - Just milk might not be enough as it does not encapsulate all the nutrients that a child requires. Add a drink supplement like Junior Horlicks to the child’s milk to add all vital nutrients to it and help in brain development. You should also include other items like fresh juices, smoothies and chaas, as other liquid intake.
3. Why should his meal time be different - Let your child’s meal time be same as that of the family. Kids not only learn table manners but they also understand the importance of meal time. The child will learn to finish his meal in a specified time. They also like to impersonate his parents in terms of eating style and pattern.
4. Keep it interesting- Kids tend to get bored with the same food. Also getting them acquainted to a new food item might also take time. But keep the process on. As mothers, it’s our job to present interesting food to our kids that would appeal to them in not just taste but presentation as well. Get variety in terms of milk shakes, desserts, salads etc.
5. Do not mix food- Toddlers are in their fastest growing stage. They are developing taste so don’t confuse them with food that has multiple item. Introduce single food item at one time. For ex while we might think that adding 2-3 veggies would make for a healthy soup and we will also be reaching the nutrient target for our child, the fact is the child is unlikely to love it. So go slow with one pulse, one mashed vegetable or one mashed fruit at a time. Don’t confuse their taste buds as their little minds are still exploring the difference in each.
So, it’s time to keep all the fuss behind and taking it easy with your child. Wishing you all a happy meal time with your little ones.