Published: 03/16/2016 - Updated: 08/14/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Food is not always the easiest when you have young children at home, as generally children are often quite picky and particular about what they like by nature, so it is tempting to avoid problems, discussions and wasted time to choose to serve unhealthy foods that are easily accepted by children.
However, as parents, being conscious and caring about our kids' health is of paramount importance for children to grow up healthy and above all so that they know how to eat properly in the future; It is at this point in their development where we can give them all the tools and knowledge to appreciate their health and give importance to the food they eat.
Of course nobody teaches us to be parents, so to instruct and guide our children is never an easy task. However, today I want to offer some simple tips that you can apply on a daily basis to make mealtimes an enjoyable time and a valuable learning experience for children.
Tips for a healthy, balanced diet for infants
- Keep Fruit at Home: Children often tend to choose sweet foods and treats, so a great way to provide this is with fruit. Choose their favorite fruits and prepare delicious and healthy snacks for them. For example, you could combine apple with a little honey or peanut butter, bananas with a little chocolate or just fruit alone is a very good option to give your little ones.
- There are no bad foods: It is very important to teach children that there are no bad foods and that they can eat a little of everything, as long as there is a balance; You should try to create a situation where children do not reject certain foods as this may cause them many problems in the future, but on the contrary: Teach them that they can consume a wide range of foods so long as they are consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet
- Prepare food at home: This may be one of the most complicated pieces of advice, especially if there is very little time in family routine. However, this is a much simpler way of providing and making your children are eating healthy food. If you have very little time to prepare food, try to involve your whole family in helping with this task: This will make it easier and quicker. When you have free time, prepare something for your family: Besides being healthy, cooking and preparing your own food is a great way to learn and it can become a fun hobby
- Sit at the table: Although it seems obvious, in today's world it is very easy for family schedules not to coincide. Whenever you have time, try to implement sitting at the table as a way of living, creating memories and also a great example: If children see others eating all kinds of foods, they themselves are encouraged to try new things and eat healthily.
- Set an example: Children learn by imitating their parents or adults around them, so if you can set a good example of eating well they will learn to do so too. Making them eat a bowl of broccoli when you yourself do not eat it will not bring good results, so it must start with you by changing your habits and eating healthily in the same way you expect your children to eat. This could also be a good way to improve your own health by staying on par with their eating habits.
- Less soft drinks and more water: From the day we are born, hydration is essential to maintain good health. Try to get your children to become acustomed to staying hydrated; as mentioned earlier, sodas and flavored drinks are not bad foods, so you can offer them on special occasions. If you have trouble making your children drink water, natural juices or fresh flavoured water with little or no added sugar are both excellent options for providing nutritious drinks that will keep your children hydrated.
- Create a reward system: Forcing your child to eat something can cause him/her to reject it more and more every time, or he/she may come to associate that food with a negative situation. To avoid this, do not force your child but instead let him or her know that if they consume a certain food, they will be compensated with a food that they really like. This is a great way to motivate your child to try new things or to eat food which they dislike.
These are just some of the tips you can use to take care of feeding your children healthily and educating them on the importance of food. Of course every parent will adapt these tips and will have their own system which works for them and their family, but the important thing is to be positive and constant. This is a long road which has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day the satisfaction of being able to offer education and health to your own children is worth it.
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