No more fussy eating

Make it Fun

No more fussy eating

Kids often reject healthy food and love gorging on junk foods like burgers and fries. The struggle to get the little ones to eat healthy food seems never-ending for parents. However, involving your child in food preparations and errands can help inculcate healthy eating habits.

Involving kids above five years of age in kitchen activities can increase their affinity towards food. While preparing meals, parents can ask their little ones to help in small activities and discuss the nutritional value of food items. Also, when kids are involved in a cooking activity, they become naturally curious about the results. This gets them interested in eating the food they were involved in making.

Little steps

Here are some ways in which parents can inculcate healthy eating habits in children:

  • Set a good example: Kids generally look up to their parents for any learnings. Therefore, it is important that parents set a good example for children. When your child sees you eating healthy and getting physically active, they will try to copy you.
  • Praise your child: Praise your child for small things. If your child avoids eating healthy food, don’t demotivate them. Instead, encourage them to eat healthier food next time. Make it fun and positive.
  • Stop using food as a reward: When your child does something good, offer some good reward rather than chocolates or junk food. It is better to avoid using food as a reward.
  • Meals, a family time: Make sure that there is at least one meal during the day where the entire family eats together. When everybody eats together, there is a lesser chance of your child eating unhealthy food. Also, avoid eating food while watching TV.
  • Involvement in meal preparation: While preparing a meal, ask your child to do small activities like arranging breads, opening cheese slices or butter packets. Discussing nutritional value of food items can increase your child’s interest in healthy food.
  • Involve your child in food planning: When you decide what to cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner, ask your child to suggest as to what he/she would like to eat. If they are unable to name the food items, ask them to come up with an ingredient of their choice.
  • Keep lunch box in check: Many a times, children bring back their lunch box without eating a single bite. Make sure that you discuss this with your child and prepare meals as per their choice. You can also try making the food look creative.

Get them in

Letting your child help you in kitchen might not be that easy. With kids being all over the place, you might feel exhausted in directing them. Read on some tips to induct your little one into the kitchen:
n Washing: Ask your child to wash fruits and vegetables. While he does this, discuss about the colours, textures and nutrient value.

  • Mashing: Let your child mash boiled veggies. Make sure that you provide plastic forks and spoons instead of steel, as it may hurt the child.
  • Pouring liquids: Help your child pour fruit juices into tumblers. This will help them in developing their motor skills while they explore the texture.
  • Stacking: Teach your child to arrange plates, spoons and other kitchenware on the dining table.
  • Let your child observe: Try giving different shapes to fruits and veggies by using a cookie cutter. Let your child observe while you sprinkle herbs on veggies and discuss the same.

Below mentioned are some tips for schools to help children develop healthy eating habits:

  • Organise cooking sessions: Playschools can organise sessions where they teach children to prepare healthy sandwiches, decorate salads and arrange fruits. This will not only enrich their knowledge but will also encourage teamwork.
  • Undertake food shopping: Teachers at kindergarten can organise field trips for kids where they can take the kids to supermarkets and inform them about various food items.
  • Gardening: Teaching children to plant vegetables and fruits in the school garden can help kids remember the names of different fruits and vegetables while inculcating healthy eating habits in them.
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