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As important as it is for you to see that your child is eating right, it is also important that you inculcate the right eating habits early on.
M&B gives you useful guidelines to make sure that your child grows up making healthy food choices
It is rightly said that you are what you eat. So what you teach your child to eat during her early days is what she ends up opting for as an adult. Eating habits define the person your child will grow up to be. “Instilling the right eating habits in your tot is essential as it not only helps your child to choose the right food for herself but saves her from falling prey to binging or other vices in the future,” says Sonal Modi, chief nutritionist, DENMARC, Mumbai. Moreover, eating the right foods the right way would help your child to ward off lifestyle ailments such as hypertension or diabetes as adults. Diet choices play an important role in bringing up a healthy child. “Till the age of five, your child’s tastebuds are developing and the brain is registering the tastes of various foods. So, catch your child young to inculcate the right habits,” warns Modi. Once your child develops an appetite for junk and fatty foods like pizzas and burgers’ every child’s favourite grub, it will be difficult for you to persuade her to enjoy a balanced meal. But beware to not overdo this or be too strict with your kid. “The more you deprive the kid, be it chocolates, chips or burgers, the more the child yearns for it. It’s important to teach her a disciplined way to enjoy nutritious food as well as cheat meals alike,” adds Modi. Teaching him the balance of diet and exercise is very important for her to lead a healthy way of life.
FOLLOWING ARE EIGHT HEALTHY HABITS TO MAKE YOUR CHILD A SMART EATER...
1 Teach him the importance of the first meal of the day. Never allow your child to skip his breakfast. The reason: it helps him to jumpstart the day and ups his metabolism. The breakfast is the first meal of the day and comes after a long gap of time. To restore the energy in his body after a restful night, the right foods are essential to rejuvenate his system. Make sure that your child doesn’t leave the house without having breakfast or after gulping down just a glass of milk only. “Make the breakfast a heavy meal so your child can sustain till mid-day when it is lunch time,” advises Modi. Missing breakfast will make your child sluggish, with low energy levels and a dip in blood glucose levels. Also, it could lead to binging through the latter half of the day. A balanced breakfast on the other hand, will keep your child’s concentration levels high, help him function with vigour and perform better in school.
2 Pile up the plate with more veggies and salads. You know the nutritional benefits of having more veggies and salads, but the same doesn’t imply for your child. He may still detest having broccoli or say bitter gourd (karela) in his plate. Be patient. Do not force him to eat all the veggies in one go. Remember, your child’s taste for food is still developing. “What he dislikes today, he might be fond of a couple of months later. Quit the veggie he dislikes the most for a couple of days and reintroduce after a while,” suggests Modi. To start with, mash the veggies: potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, peas, etc, with rice and feed your young toddler. This would help him develop the taste for various vegetables at an early age and probably like them more as an adult too. Give him diced carrot or cucumber to snack on. This would make him develop a liking towards salads later.