Child nutrition is a sign of love
Did you know that parenting is all about setting standards to be followed by your children in many areas of their lives?
These range from the clothing; schooling; play groups; TV programs to watch, plus what to eat
That said, it is every parents desire to have healthy children. However to many parents this is not a simple as it sounds. Reason being, discipline is required from both the parent and the child in so far as promoting healthy child nutrition is concerned.
Both parents and children ought to constantly be reminded of the maxim that says, “You are what you eat”.
It is every parent’s responsibility to foster good eating habits in their household in order for their children benefit from eating healthy foods.
Child nutrition: Importance
A child who has a regular balanced diet benefits from the following:
- Healthy and normal brain growth
- Freedom from common childhood illness
- Proper physical growth
- Improved self esteem
- Normal and healthy weight gain
It is thus important for parents to develop skills that would enable them instil in their children the importance of eating healthy foods. Proper child nutrition should as such be promoted by all parents for the sake of the future generation.
As a parent you may be wondering what proper child nutrition entails.
Proper Child nutrition: What it entails
Proper child nutrition is all about encouraging children to eat the right combination of food.
Food items that fall in the above food groups are readily available in various shopping outlets world over.
Cost should not be an impediment. Parents can use the following strategies to enable them the the correct foods at affordable costs:
- Child nutrition tip 1: Identify cheap markers where fresh produce is sold
This may be a retail market where these items are available at low cost, in addition to buying food items, especially fruits and vegetables that are in season. Reason being that food items tend to be cheap when in season.
- Child nutrition tip 2: Buying in bulk
This helps reduce on the cost per unit in addition to reducing number of trips made to the shopping outlet.
Even as parents make effort to readily make available proper food in the house, this in itself doesn’t in any way guarantee that one’s children will eat healthy. This is so because children world over prefer stuff like potato chips, sodas, crisps, sausages, etc over healthy meals like rice, meat, beans, etc
Challenges in instilling health eating habits in children
As mentioned up above, despite efforts many parents make in providing health food to their children, majority are faced with the hard task of begging their children to eat health food as opposed to indulging in snacks, which have no nutritional value.
Some parents resort to some form of punishment in their endeavor to have their children eat healthy. Whilst this may seem to work in the short term, it may have the following adverse effects in the long run:
- Children start to dread meal times
- Some children may become anorexic or bulimic
- Children refuse to eat healthy whenever their parents are no around
- Some children become rebellious during teenage years
Parents thus ought to avoid taking any drastic punitive measures that would only fuel their children’s resistance to certain foods.
Child nutrition: Resistance to healthy food
Resistance to healthy food is a headache many parents battle with, especially resistance to vegetables.
There are several reasons why this is the case. Some of the reasons given are:
- Veges taste badly especially is lightly cooked or eaten raw
- Veges are not appealing to the eyes of a child
That said, parents ought to establish ways of ensuring their children have a vegetable serving on a daily basis, in addition to finding better ways of helping their children develop a liking for good, healthy and nutritious food.
Parents can also help minimize their children’s resistance to food by:
- Instilling in their children the importance of eating healthy foods
- Involving their children in the selection of the weekly diet plan
- Involving children in preparing the food
- Learning creative ways of preparing food for the children
- Limiting the amount snacks given to children in form of rewards
- Eating what their children eat
- Developing ways of disciplining their children wherever they refuse to eat
Child nutrition: Techniques to enhance proper nutrition
One may thus wonder, given the importance of healthy nutrition in children, plus their resistance to food, how then parents can still get their children to value proper nutrition.
This can be done using the following techniques:
- Replacing junk food/snacks with healthy snacks and whole grain cereals like weetabix
- Serving your children with a variety of vegetables and fruits
- Discourage your children from eating their meals while watching TV given that they will give more attention to the latter rather than the former
- Encourage children to engage in some sports activity before their meals as this will definitely make them hungry enough to want to fill up their empty stomachs
- Allow your children to drink more water and natural fruit juices as opposed to fizzy drinks
- Lead by example by eating a balanced healthy diet
Child nutrition a demonstration of love
To all parents out there, it takes love and patience for children to appreciate the importance of eating healthy. Proper child nutrition helps preserve the future generation from lifestyle diseases.