A day with an active toddler keeps you on your toes every single moment. Though the feeling is exciting and all the more rewarding, there may be difficult times too, especially the mealtimes!
However tasty the food may be, your toddler rejects it with one go. As a mother or caregiver, you often keep wondering whether your little one is having enough for his age or taking enough nutrition required to grow.These thoughts are pretty normal.Here are some essential nutritive aspects of food for your little one along with ways to cultivate good food habits in your bundle of joy:
1 . Make The Mealtimes Happy
-Try to reduce exposure to electronic items like television, mobile phones, tablets during mealtime as this directly impacts digestion.
-Mealtime for your toddler should not be different from others in the family. Children usually eat better when they observe adults enjoying the food served.
-Avoid force-feeding as it leads to fear and avoidance. Children have a gift of realizing when they are hungry or full. If he/she chooses not to eat more, parents should not try to force the food. At the same time nothing else should be offered before the next mealtime.
2 . Encourage Self-Feeding
-As a parent you must inculcate the habits of self-feeding in your children. The earlier you do this, the better your child’s mealtime will become.
-Parents can give homemade pancakes, pieces of paratha, small biscuits which the child can hold with his fingers.
-Do not leave your child unsupervised as he has just started to eat and the fear of choking always remains.
3 . Avoid Foods With Preservatives
– A toddler who has just been weaned should best avoid tinned, canned and packed foods which contain high amount of salt and other preservatives harmful for his age.
-At the same time, occasional fried or baked foods, very little in quantity, may help the child to not fall prey to binge eating later on in life.
4 . Opt For Whole Milk
–Milk is the best source of calcium for toddlers. Toddlers should have whole rather than skimmed milk.
-Children will definitely benefit from the fat –soluble vitamins from full fat foods.
-Avoid anything other than water in between mealtimes.
-It is advisable to mix fruit juices with water. Packaged fruit juices usually contain excess sugar and should be avoided.
5 . Make Food Interesting
-The usual plain white bread slice when cut into round or triangle pieces make it all the more interesting for your toddler who is just learning to recognize various shapes.
-Toddlers may refuse to have milk straight out of the cup so initially straw-cups can be introduced.
-Regular milk when served with hot chocolate makes the snack time less fussy.
-Tiny balls can be scooped out of the apples and carrots and cucumbers cut into different shapes help your child to have a joyful snack-time
So, remember that your child has never done this before. Just as you are new to feeding him/her,your child too is new to the world of food, flavours, textures, and varied choices. Try and add variety to the schedule and always stop when you think your child is not interested. Wait till your child asks for food. This will help him/her appreciate and love food in the long run. Stay Positive and give Your child all the love and attention he/she deserves!