Dear readers, while I prepared sweets during the festive season, a discussion with my mother-in-law brought my attention to the health and taste of food when it comes to kids. I am a mother of a five-year-old daughter and a newborn, who understands the struggle of feeding healthy food to the kids. My elder one absolutely loves eating fruits however, feeding her chapati/paratha and pulses is another story altogether.
Pandemic taught us a lesson to be more aware of what is on our plate and how that can affect our immunity. As much as I enjoyed cooking during these times, I also realized my five-year-old is a bit less fussy when the food is cooked as per her taste preference. She enjoys food that looks colorful and isn’t too strong in flavor.
I am glad to share that now she enjoys her parathas as much as she enjoys her pasta. It took us some time to get familiar with the right balance of nutrition and taste. Here is what worked for me and my little one:
Understanding of nutrition and growth
Height and weight are not the only factors to judge the appropriate growth of our little ones. As a parent, it is my job to make sure my kid is eating nutritious meals, staying active, growing as per her age standard, and not judged on the societal terms of “being healthy”. The right nutrition is key to making the most of kids’ critical growth phase. The child’s nutrients need to correspond with these changes in growth rates. Nutrient needs increase as a child gets close to adolescence. [i]
Healthy food can be tasty too
My daughter is in love with rainbows nowadays, anything served on a plate which looks like a rainbow is her favorite meal currently. Colorful pasta is her go-to snack of the evening and I have learned to make it from scratch extracting the colors from veggies. Mixed veg Tikki is another dish that we have been relishing lately. Overall, I have understood that food cannot be boring if you want to feed your kids. It has to look good and please their taste palates.
Involve kids in the cooking process
From going to shop for veggies to chopping them, from making sandwiches to mixing her favorite chocolate flavor PediaSure in milk, my little girl loves it all. Involve kids in cooking even when it gets messy at times. There are a few products that we swear by and that have been a part of my little one’s childhood. PediaSure is one of those brands. Did you know that the Vanilla flavor of PediaSure is now with 30% less sucrose and added nutrient benefits which make both parents and kids happy? The new PediaSure has Arginine and Vitamin K2 that support longer and stronger bones. [ii] A healthy child will follow an individual growth curve. However, the nutrient intake may be different for each child. Provide a diet with a wide variety of foods that are suited to the child’s age.
Try different flavors and textures
No one rule fits all when it comes to feeding kids a nutritious meal. My daughter is not a fan of chapati however, ravioli or dal dhokli made from the same flour is an absolute favorite. Rice might not be welcomed on her plate but dosa is one of her favorite meals of the day. Experimenting with flavors and textures has helped us a lot to make my fussy eater fall in love with food.
I would love to know what has worked for you when it comes to feeding your kid nutritious meals. Don’t forget to share your tips and tricks in the comment section below and help us, moms, to keep our little ones healthy.
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