Promoting healthy eating habits in toddlers #1

  The Anatomy of the Fussy Eater

I believe that parents need to make nutrition education a priority in their home environment. It’s crucial for good health and longevity to instill in your children sound eating habits from an early age.

— Cat Cora (American chef celebrity )

As parents we are the first educators and guides that our child can ever have. One of the best gifts that we can ever gift our children is a lifetime of healthy eating habits. The habits which is incorporated in the early years of their life forms a strong foundation for the rest of their lives and goes a long way in determining  their cognitive, physical and precisely their entire development.

It is said we are what we eat. A lot of things may not be in our control however what we put in our body is , is what we should teach and demonstrate to our little ones. We must first explore the repercussions of poor diet on the development of our child :

  1. Cognitive development                                                                                                                          Many researches prove that children who recive a nutritionally balanced diet have a higher intelligence quotient later on in their lives. To learn more about it you may read the following article.                                                                                                                     http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/02February/Pages/poor-diet-young-children-IQ-effect.aspx
  2. emotional development                                                                                                                            food that is inadequate may give childs feelings of lack of satisfaction. It in turn may restrict the child from enjoying their life by rendering them inactive. Further excess of sugar and processed food may make them develop behavioural problems like ADHD.
  3. Stunted growth                                                                                                                                           The deficiency of certain foods like protein may lead to lack of physical development in the toddlers.
  4. Tooth decay                                                                                                                                                 Certain foods high in sugar content may be the cause of the onset of cavities in the tooths of our young ones followed by tooth decay.
  5. Obesity                                                                                                                                                          Obesity is a common problem occurring among children nowadays. Obesity at a young age is sows the seeds of many severe ailments in the oncoming years of the children such as diabetes, high pressure
  6. Irritability                                                                                                                                                   Children who do not receive ample nourishment have a general tendency to be irritable and have mood swings. If someone told you , your kid is a ‘happy ‘ one. You must be doing something right.

My Fussy little one

As a mother I always tried to provide a little bit of everything in the diet of my two babies and continue the tradition. They received quiet a colorful diet. Even though the elder one was quiet a fussy eater, I would like to believe I did my bit . However when I went to my home country I was always told she was too thin and it was probably because of  something that I was doing wrong.

My kid was labelled as too thin and some other  terms.  Although I usually discarded them mentally as I always felt grateful for my dd. My elder one, was never a cherubic and round baby that could be the poster representation of the healthy baby. However she had always been one of the most active, playful, busy kid that you would ever know. Always the one to be chattering and giggling and always to keep me up on my two feet but at the same time never the one to be too demanding at the same time. I really thank God for it.

However,She was the type who from a choice of 6 types of food would say no to 5. Often the 6th food item was the one which had a high sugar content. Well to be more precise if my daughter was a bug she would be an ant. Although she was the typical fussy kid she had a fixation-‘ all things sweet’. She is not every mother’s dream kid where the child quietly eats all that lay in front of his eyes on the table but the  troubled mother who was sometimes driven up the wall trying out different flavors of food , hoping that what I cooked would go down well with her. Although with my first one in the initial weaning phase I was quiet an ignorant mother who had little idea of what to feed her being mostly on my own without family support in the States. However after a reading frenzy and some generous dose of inspiration from a wise friend, I started incorporating a healthy concoction of fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish , pasta rice and lentils in her meals. I tried. However she had a mind of her own at times.

As soon as she learnt to speak ‘ No’ was one of the first words that she learnt to say. Although she enjoyed her berry smoothie and tomato pasta, certain ordinary and not great tasting food were met with a clamped mouth and a firm ‘No’. As she entered her toddler  and later pre-school phase  I slowly  discovered her favorite foods. They are as following:

  1. Cake
  2. donuts
  3. chocolates
  4. jelly candies
  5. noodles
  6. cheese pizza (without the veggies)
  7. chicken nuggets and fries
  8. Biryani ( a popular Indian rice dish cooked with meat and aromatic spices)

Well their surely is no problem with any of the food she likes unless eaten in moderation. However the problem arises when you are unable to cook the last 4 every single day of their lives. That is when you put your food forward and explain that they eat whatever is available or simply improvise. Whatever happens the last thing one can do as a parent is reprimand, force or create a sense of unpleasantness over what they eat. For the record my daughter’s eating habits are  slightly similar to her dad’s. 😀 So if you are piqued by a kid with similar eating habits, look closer home!

I definitely have clear rules on how much sugar she eats but I let her be even if it means her not eating a hearty meal. The silver lining is that she enjoys her fruits too like the bananas and the apples. So whenever she is not accepting the meal provided to her, She readily eats a banana or two. This is the common ground we both agree on. Also why should it be a matter of concern when my little girl is busy prancing around and asking bright questions and having fun playing and using her mind where it matters.

The final seal of approval came from the doctor when he said, ‘ Your child’s health is reflective of how much they fall sick or do not. All that should matter to you as a parent is how active your child is rather than how chubby they are.’

True, this is all that should matter!

ch7c

Image courtesy-freeimages.com

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8 thoughts on “Promoting healthy eating habits in toddlers #1

  1. Its amazing that you bring this up.. although its extremely important for children, i think your post serves as a reminder to adults as well. If a parent eats healthy and is up on their feet, it would be the only best way for them to raise children with healthy lifestyles. Which comes back to you mentioning the demonstrating factor. Thankyou for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s great advice from the doctor! My baby niece is picky too but we try to be creative and give her everything she needs in some form she likes.
    Bless your kid! May she grow up to be a healthy, happy, active child 🙂

    ~ Saraallie

    Liked by 1 person

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