Human Beings tend to go for changes, and these changes can be anything related to their lives, choice, and taste. Being a foodie is related to almost every Indian trying to inculcate changes and uniqueness in food items. So is the case with children who too need change. Change in anything and everything. But what if the changes in terms of health are not taken care of?
What if the children don’t enjoy the healthy food being cooked for them? How will their nutritious diet be maintained? These questions are somewhat phobias for many parents running after their children from the beginning to give them proper food and a healthy diet. Sadly, many factors in terms of children’s diet are often left ignored.
Healthy Vs Unhealthy
It is often the parents’ concern that their children never listen to them when they talk about health and nutrition. They are not clear what is healthy and unhealthy for growing kids. Sometimes lack of interest and boredom becomes the major factor of ignoring taste. Parents usually follow the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner routine that creates a monotonous routine for children, and they try losing interest in the food. This is the reason they start running for outside food that is ultimately unhygienic and lacks proper nutrition. Children need food that should be rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins. Homemade food with lots of green and leafy vegetables followed by the routine of milk and dairy products are best for children.
Unhealthy food often comes in attractive packages and is widely available but lacks the nutrition the growing body needs. They contain preservatives that are harmful to the body and can last for many days. They have artificial taste and colours that are not suitable for the body and have long term health effects.
Problems faced by Parents and Children
Health is the prime issue for all. But it’s quite difficult to let children understand what is right or what is wrong for them. This is usually in the case of children whose parents are either working or those under the supervision of others. Apart from these reasons, children learn from their environment the most. Sometimes the peer group pressure in schools and colleges is most; thus, children rely on canteens and outside food.
Following are the reasons for not enjoying homemade food by children:
- Same food patterns and no change in taste and menu at home.
- Ignorance on parents part to give money to children in schools.
- Dependency on canteen food to support peer groups.
- Bad eating habits.
- Inappropriate schedule.
- Various other health issues sometimes may lead to disinterest in any food.
- Dieting and attainment of a zero size body.
- Availability of food sometimes doesn’t let children know how much hunger one has.
- Forceful feeds even when the child is not hungry.
- Vegetables often taste bitter, and children mostly have a love for sweets food items.
How To Teach Children What Is Right Food?
Parents are often seen running and worrying after children trying to provide them with nutritious food most of the time in a forceful way. Still, they are unlucky to get full success. They sometimes have to be lenient and friendly and, at times, strict. On the other hand, few parents have the habit of filling and forcefully making their children overeat; this leads to the disinterest and even missing of healthy food routine. Children have to understand that a nutritious diet is the key ingredient of a healthy body and mind.
Following are the ideas one can follow to inculcate in children the tendency to opt right and worthy of getting maximum health benefits for the present as well as their future:
- Less dictatorship and more friendly talks about health and hygiene.
- Avoid putting names of foods as bad or good but try to inculcate the habit of using healthy and unhealthy food in front of children.
- Try to fill a child’s stomach according to hunger and their needs.
- The focus should be on the quality of food and not on quantity.
- Avoid appreciative rewards in terms of sweets and candies packed or contain high calories as this can interrupt their daily eating routine.
- The children should be taught the actual meaning of eating the right food at the right time.
- There should be a clear difference between hunger and content.
Families should try to unite together at the dining table to enjoy homemade food together. This can give support and a sense of interest when all others are also eating the same food children will try to inculcate the same habit.
Also, Read | Safe and Healthy Parenting Guidelines
Food Tips That Can Be Followed:
Following the right and friendly method can help parents to cope with the problems related to health and nutrition in their kids-
- Proper action done with patience can bring fruitful and positive results.
- Try to make a time table or menu daily wherein children should have the liberty to choose their offs or holidays.
- Being a parent, one should realize what all food items can be bought up at home.
- The refrigerators as well cupboards should be filled with the right supply of food items. More fruits and dairy products can be used to make several healthy snacks and dishes at home only.
- Avoid asking for “what you want to eat ?” or “what should I cook for you?” Rather use terms like “we have something different cooked for you today”. This simple term can give them a chance to go for the change.
- Vegetables that kids often keep at a distance can be included in their diets. One can cook vermicelli loaded with veggies that will give them the effect of having noodles; of course, this home-based semolina vermicelli is good in health and can give new flavours with taste and nutrition.
- Oats are rich in fibres, and proteins that can be cooked with milk or veggies at home can give a splendour taste.
- Rice can also be made fully loaded with veggies at home and can be a nice food option.
- Homemade fruit shakes using milk can be a perfect option in contrast to choosing sodas and cold drinks.
- Curd that can be homemade and can be made healthier and sweeter by adding fruits.
- Stuffed chapati or tortilla rolls with veggies can be made hygienically and easily at home.
- Flattened rice or Poha can be cooked within a short period and can be sent as a nice lunch/meal option for their school.
- Pasta that kids enjoy are rich in carbohydrates and can be cooked with loads of vegetables.
- Homemade vegetable idlis or ground peas idli is also a very nice and unique option for kids to change.
Nowadays, everything is easily available and can be home-cooked safely and easily. Sandwiches and jam rolls can also be tried for some uniqueness.
Kids often show tantrums and have a disinterest in the food offered to them at their homes. If the family meals are enjoyed together, and parents can become role models for them by choosing the right food for themselves, children will try to learn and act in the same way. Suppose children are taught moral behaviour at schools and in their homes; they should be taught how to respect food. Parents can involve flameless cooking options where children can appreciate their handmade food and develop a sense of responsibility to respect their food.
Parents and children share a special bond. Kids walk on the footprints of their family members and especially their mom and dad. They can be taken to various orphanage homes and various places where hunger and life necessities are still a dream of many needy and the destitute. They can be taught the importance of sharing and caring concepts that show the value of food for everyone. One can opt for Reward charts and an appreciating badge to motivate kids, as those who will eat the healthy food will be rewarded with a winning badge for the day. Similarly, various fun eating tools can be used with young toddlers and preschoolers too. With the play way method, they can learn in advance what is right for them through the beginning and continue throughout their lives—Grant options to choose from but from the healthy snacks list. With the positive approach and passion, children will start taking an interest in eating and drinking healthy.
Kids can be made responsible if they learn how to move on the right path, and parents can guide them with the best. Yes, it’s difficult but not impossible. Keeping an eye on them without following dictatorship can help. Choose a play way method for eating and avoid giving mobiles and televisions as an option to serve their hunger.
“Healthy body is the key to a healthy mind and soul.“