The Benefits of cultivating Good Eating Practices in Kids right from childhood are numerous as Good Eating Practices are one of those factors apart from Genes and Environment, which helps in the Growth, and development of Kids. Multiple Researches have suggested the linkage of Good Eating Practices with the academic success as well backing up with the theory that children’s who eat Balanced Diet are less likely to fall ill and hence perform better in school hence it is our duty as a parents to do the Meal planning smartly keeping in mind the Nutrition and Taste.
“We are what we Eat”
WHAT IS A BALANCED DIET?
A Balanced Diet is the one, which contains food from various Food Groups offering various nutrients required for good health.
Let’s look at 5 Food Groups to know more about how one should Plan a Balanced Diet
✔️ Vegetables -Provides Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals
✔️ Fruits -Provides Fiber and Vitamins
✔️ Grains -Provides Fiber and Energy (Cereals,Oats,Rice, Potatoes,Pasta ,whole wheat etc)
✔️ Meat/Beans/Fish/Pulses/Nuts -Provides Protein
✔️ Dairy -Provides Calcium,Vitamins and Proteins (Milk,Cheese,Curd).
WHAT ARE THE GROUND RULES FOR PLANNING A BALANCED DIET?
✔️Parents should make sure to offer 3 of the food groups at each meal and snacks should form the other 2 food groups. As a Parents we should also make sure to restrict the Sugar and Junk food intake while planning for Kids Meal and to make Meal Times interesting, we should try to offer variety of Recipes so that elder kids look forward to consume it.
✔️Parents should also keep in the mind the ground rule of “Eating the Rainbow”🌈 while planning child’s Meal which Basically Means to offer a variety of Fruits and Vegetables for a day since variety of colored food ensures Nutrients.
Note: Fruit and vegetables fall into five different color categories: red, purple/blue, orange, green and white/brown. Each color carries its own set of unique disease fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. It is these phytochemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant color and of course some of their healthy properties.
I am also sharing few Tips for Meal Prep from my Personal Experience
✔️Make a weekly Meal Chart for your kids having food from various food groups to save effort and time.
✔️Give multiple food choices to choose from and keep tweaking the recipes every once in a week or a Month.-This is important as Kids sometimes want to get a hold of what to eat and what not so giving choices basically means that they are choosing for themselves out of the multiple food options being provided and tweaking the recipes basically helps them to look forward to meal times as kids becomes easily bored of eating same thing again and again so Menu should be exciting for them.
✔️Involve your Child in the Food Preparation
Like Baking Cookies, Filling the Popsicle Moulds, Shredding the stem of the Vegetables etc. Involving your Child in the Food Preparation helps fussy eaters because kids are either not comfortable with food shape, color or texture. Seeking their help not only gives them a safe feeling with the presented food but also would want them to consume it as they have been involved in the preparation.
✔️Let them know the importance of eating Healthy Good 🙂
Having quoted the Guidelines for Child’s Meal Planning, it’s important at the very first place to showcase Healthy Eating Habits in front of the kids by making Healthy Choices
✔️Don’t Buy and Stock Packaged Foods at home unless very urgent.
This is the very first step we as parents teach them that anything Homemade is always healthy, clean and good for our body. This way kids learn to give priority to anything Homemade rather than packaged foods as these foods are loaded with preservatives, sugar and not organic either.
✔️Don’t eat anything unhealthy in front of your kid unless you would want your Kid to consume it either. (Occasionally is ok though.)
Activities to Boost Your Child’s Developmental SkillsPlease select the age group of your child
Apart from preparing interesting meals, we as Parents also need to set some guidelines at home regarding meal times for our kids to eat healthy and develop healthy habits around food.
🌼Kids need to at least taste the food before asking for replacement of any food item if not served per choice (That way Kids will at least give it a try and fussy eating followed by tantrums can be controlled if kids are aware of such guidelines in advance). I have tried this with my toddler girl while she was reluctant enough to eat Mangoes at all. I told her to taste her and discard if she didn’t like the taste. She tasted it after a day or 2 and loves Mangoes now.
🌼Meals would be served in a similar way for all Family members. Some kids don’t like Onions or cumin seeds in Daal or veggies and request to serve it without any tadka hence it’s important to let them know that Daal will not be served without cumin seeds or Onions etc. had helped my daughter accept Daal in similar way and she happily enjoys it now.
🌼 Parents can offer a cheat meal (Junk or packaged food) may be once or twice a month as we don’t want to be too strict either.
Always remember that small sacrifices made by us today would reap bigger benefits for our Kids in future!
Article Information Source: The article is a combination of the Author’s Personal experiences combined with insights from Pediasure and Nutrition Australia websites.
About The Author
I am Kanupriya Singh, a Mom from Gurgaon, an IT Professional by Profession and Blogger by Passion. I Love to Write, Read, Travel, Dance and Shop. A Yoga and Meditation Lover and Strong Believer of Karma.