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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I agree totally that kids have to be exposed to various cuisines. Otherwise they will not be able to explore the world and its various types of food.
These are some great tips to make fussy eaters eat better.I wrote a book with my husband talking about picking eating .It’s free on KU.
Aah! Children can be fussy eaters, but patience and persistence pays. Making food tasty and interesting, laying some ground rules, practicing what you preach, experimenting can go a long way to make picky eaters turn into food lovers!! 🙂
Oh yes we need to make the kids understand that healthy food can also be tasty and also making them a part of the entire process is also a great suggestion.
Whenever I coax my daughter into eating healthy, she responds by telling me to eat khichdi first … but you’re right, healthy can be tasty too! I always tell my wife to cook idli, upma, etc. for my kids, instead of fried/junk food.
I am also a mother to an energetic 5-year-old boy, and your tips are some that I have followed myself for ages! They can be so hard to please and so we must be creative!
Its important to understand the likes and dislikes of kids as well when making sure they are given the balanced diet they need. These are really useful tips. I do not have kids but I will send this to my friends who have little kids.
Kids are usually fussy eaters, and it becomes the responsibility of the mother to feed them the right, nutritious food. Liked your tips on the same.
In order for kids to like their food, making the process fun is also very important. I too ask my kids what they want to eat, involve them in cooking process and make it interesting by presenting them the food in a fun way. But to top it up, PediaSure has always been my go to too and my kids love it.
Feeding kids can definitely be tiresome, but if we know knick knacks it’s definitely an easy to crack one my daughter involves herself in the process of making food and plating . Pediasure is a favorite at home
These are some great tips Kavita. No matter how much we would like to give or kids balanced diet but sometime giving supplements become essential and Pediasure is something I relay too.
As mothers we want our kids to eat healthy food and if they enjoy having it then even better! Pediasure is a favourite at our home too and we often change flavours for variety.
Very right, that sometimes it gets really difficult to get the choice of food and the nutrients balanced in a plate for the kids plus when we have Pediasure with us then we are really stress free of the food intake of children.
Absolutely with you here, especially when it comes to experimenting with food. it is so important kids adapt to healthy eating habits since childhood. and making it tasty and attractive is just a bonus to help them stick to those food
Kids who are in this age gap are really fussy sometimes when it comes to taking proper food, we as parents need to understand their mood and get them involved. Loved your tips for parents!!
As they say, we eat food with our eyes. And kids are always up for colors. If we involve them into cooking and make it interesting, then they are more likely to enjoy it.
These are great tips to teach kids healthy food habits and develop a taste for healthy foods. personally i always like to involve my girls in cooking process, it helps them a chance to learn different aspects of nutrition and importance of healthy eating and cooking.
I totally resonate with your point that food cannot be boring when feeding to kids especially when the food is healthy. I also try to experiment with food to make it healthy and tasty so that my son can relish it.