10 ways to win the battle against feeding healthy children (1-4years)

It is becoming increasingly common to come across children who are underweight, overweight and/or anemic. This is not the forte of poor families but of well to do or comfortable families. Feeding habits are becoming poor as we compromise on how and what we feed our children. As we juggle our chaotic life events, we tend to compromise on or delegate some of our duties. So what can we do to take back control of our children’s health?

  1. Stop having discussions on what the toddler likes or does not like – it is not a Blog-vegesconsensus or choice. A healthy diet is mandatory. Every child must eat their greens, meats and fruits. There is no room for your child saying they only like bananas or that they only like milk… Or that they don’t like vegetables. If a child refuses to eat a meal, do not offer an alternative or a placation. Tell them to eat or stay hungry until the next meal when you will serve the same thing. STOP giving children cereals as lunch or dinner…. They are either breakfast or snacks…..
  2. Serve amounts that are adequate for them – Don’t pile a plate so that the child panics. Start less and build up. Gauge amounts by seeing how much of foods they like is eaten and serve the same for the food they don’t really like. Weigh your children regularly to ensure that they are gaining weight appropriately.
  3. Allow for “off” days – If a child who usually eats well has a day or two of low appetite every couple of months, even if they are not sick, allow them to eat less than usual. It is normal….  Even adults have days when they just don’t feel like eating. Appetite usually bounces back if you do not make a big deal out of the whole situation.
  4. Scheduled feeding will save you a lot of headache – Children should be fed every 3 hours. For instance, breakfast at 7a.m, snack at 10a.m, lunch at 1pm, snack at 4pm and dinner at 7pm… Milk and fruits are counted in the above as a meal do no feeding them in-between meals. For instance, give lunch with some fresh juice or water then; give milk with a small bite as the 4pm snack. A fruit can also be given as the 10a.m or 4pm snack.
  5. Ensure adequate sleep -Trying to feed a hungry, sleepy, cranky child is a lost battle. Let the child wake themselves up in the morning, plan for an afternoon nap for all children below four years and maintain a fixed sleeping time at night. For instance a nap between 2 and 4 pm as well as bedtime at 8pm sharp EVERY night. No discussions.
  6. Be the perfect example – Let children watch you eating and enjoying your food. Don’t ask children to eat something that you do not eat because you do not like it…. Or make faces while you eat it. Children are very observatory and excellent at following your example.
  7. Feed at designated areas – Children should sit at a designated area and encouraged blog-feedto feed themselves as soon as they can maneuver a spoon. Get a feeding chair for younger children (1-2years) and sit near them as you assist them to eat. Above 2 years, get a small table and chair and let them eat by themselves no matter how messy it is. Do not carry children to feed them…. Unless they are ill and need coaxing. Instead be nearby, keep a watchful eye and praise them as they excel and prod them when they get distracted.
  8. Switch off all distractions – No TV should be on especially if it is showing cartoons. Get rid of other distractive things like pets, toys or older children if they are not eating at the same time……
  9. Draw up a weekly menu – Every meal should be planned for although one may vary the exact content. Meals should be varied, appetizing and as visually appealing as possible. Menus must be followed so that you, the nanny and the child know what to expect for a specific meal. The child can ask and is told what they will eat. They are NOT asked what they want to eat…. However, indulge them once in a while especially when having a family outing or visit when they can be allowed to eat pizza alone or with a soft drink so that they also learn to appreciate treats as privileges and not their right.
  10. Give lots and lots of praise – Take photos and talk about their accomplishment in the hearing of aunts, grandparents, and friends. Let the child hear you saying how much they have grown and can now feed themselves like big boys and girls. When they finish eating, clap enthusiastically as you congratulate them on a job well done.
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