Things to consider in providing the right nutrition to your child.

By: - 7th November 2018
baby


The age between 1 and 3 is a duration in which the child’s growth is ultra-fast. During this time, it is important that the mothers ensure the child is given nutrient-rich meals rather than somehow just filling them up. Also, by preparing meals in a way that boosts appetite, you can prevent the toddler’s food rejections. Guiding by example is important too. For instance, if the mother doesn’t eat vegetables and fruits, it’s difficult to train the child to eat vegetables and fruits.

In previous articles, we have discussed children’s meals, and perhaps you remember the information we provided on giving a balanced meal to your child that includes carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Also, remember that food such as instant food, short eats, sweets, sugary drinks should be kept away from children as much as possible. It is said that nowadays fruits, vegetables, and meat contain pesticides and growth hormones that are harmful to your body due to the chemical use in agriculture and farming. Therefore, it’s ideal to try and acquire organic produce as much as possible. You can also clean the vegetables and fruits by keeping them in water mixed with vinegar. In order to develop an interest in mealtimes, make sure to have fun while eating.

As the child completes the first year, you can get the child used to the normal meal patterns of your family. Then the child also gets the opportunity to sit at the dining table with the family. You can bring the child’s feeding chair to the table for this purpose. Having meals together helps for the family’s bond. Develop the habit of eating while chit-chatting among family members rather than watching television. Ask questions from your child. Teach them about different food, vegetables, and colors. Teach the good and the bad of food.

Be creative with the child’s meals.

Little kids love meals with different colors and shapes. Being creative when preparing children’s meals helps to increase the appetite.

Be methodical about eating meals.

  • Minimise water intake during meals.
  • Always give small quantities of food.
  • Cut food into small pieces in order to make them easy to chew and swallow.
  • Train the child to eat on their own since 1 year of age in order to develop self-help skills and self-discipline.
  • Do not give very small/hard toffees to children in this age.
  • After meals, give them a glass of water.

Since Children in this age love to eat small snacks in between main meals, prepare and keep fruits and boiled vegetables to give whenever needed.

When giving food to the child:

  • Add protein-rich food as much as possible to the meal.
  • Have a fixed place and a time to take meals.
  • Avoid giving biscuit, cheese etc. 2 hours prior to a meal.
  • Train them to wash hands before meals.
  • Teach them to avoid talking while there’s food in the mouth.
  • Gradually teach table manners.
  • Avoid force-feeding.
  • Teach them early on that it is not good to waste food.
  • Get the child’s help to remove spilled food pieces from the table.

Use every chance you get to try and teach the child from an early age, the necessity of nutritious meals for a healthy growth and development. Also, cleaning the place where the meals are taken, in front of the children, will help to instill the habit in them. Make children understand that they need to finish eating all the food in their plates. Therefore, parents should remember not to overload the child’s plate with food. This helps to discourage the child from wasting food.

Prepared in consultation with Miss Irangani Gagalagamuwa - Mid Wife, MOH Bulathsinhala.

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