Parents in India are highly concerned on why their child is not eating anything other than curd rice. They try different permutation and combination to make their child eat sweets, cakes, mix honey in most of the food prepared so on and so forth. When the child doesn’t like to eat any of these but prefers to eat only curd rice, they tend to get worried.
For these parents art of self treatment says, there is nothing to worry. Believe that body is the best doctor and it knows what to take inside and what not to take. The child’s liking to eat only curd rice should be appreciated and definitely not a cause of concern.
Instead of thinking how to make the child eat everything, start working on what you should not do to irritate the child. Here below are few tips which you should and should not do to make your child grow healthy.
Yoghurt is a must
One cannot stress enough about how important yoghurt is for a child. It’s a dairy product with healthy probiotics and calcium which are amazing for the appetite and immunity of the child. Yoghurt serves the purpose of a dessert as well.
Do not stick to a strict timing to make the child eat food.
Thinking that you are the best mother in the world, most mothers look at their watch and start feeding the child without even thinking whether the child wants it or not. During the child hood days, kids are prone to play a lot and that’s what you should encourage them to do. When they keep playing, you should allow them to play and at that time, you should not ask the child to come and eat food. When the child is hungry, you don’t have to force them to eat. They will ask for it and they will eat at that time. If you are thinking you are taking good care of the child by making the child eat forcefully, you are actually harming the health of the child. You are doing no good to the child. In the anxiety of your thinking you are taking good care, you are actually harming the child by forcefully making them to eat. Please refrain from doing that.
Give food only when the child asks
As said earlier, do not stick to timings. Start cultivating the habit of making the child ask for food. One day even if the child has not asked you for food for a long time, don’t panic. It means, the digestive system in the child, is taking time to get activated to its normalcy. Just test it out for a period of 3 days and see. From the second day onwards, the child, when it is hungry, will automatically come to you and ask for food. Then when you give food, it will enjoy. When it is hungry, give anything, it will eat. If it insists on curd rice, tell the child very lovingly, that today the curd rice is not there. It will start eating what you give.
Be a Good Role Model
Parents should be the role model for their children. Parents should eat lots of raw vegetables and nutritious food. At the kitchen, while cooking involve the child in the kitchen work that you do. Lift the child, hold the child on your hips, be careful, pay attention to the child, and allow the child to see what you are doing. While preparing the dish, talk good about the dish. “Waav, it will taste like this, like that, so on and so forth”.
Keep It Positive
No food bribing, as it can lead to negative associations with food. When you tell your kid he can’t leave the table to play with a (fun) puzzle until he eats his peas, he’s not going to think fondly of peas. Negotiating has worked wonders. When you tell your child that he cannot have any more curd rice until he’s had her cake or milk or whatever, he tends to eat more of the “good” stuff. Avoid saying “No, Don’t do this, Don’t do that”. If the child is about to throw a mobile phone outside the window, educate the child how it can throw the mobile phone on a comforting bed. Just an example. There are many things that the child want’s to do and parents keep saying don’t do this and that. Another example – if the child goes towards the TV to switch on or switch off, educate the child how to use the remote device to do the same activity. Similarly, when it comes to food, if the child is not liking a particular food, the parents should eat before the child and praise the food and say “I want to have this and tell your husband not to ask for it”. The child then would like to have it what you don’t want your husband to have it.
Plan children meal
If thinking about a weekly menu is too daunting, start with two or three days at a time. A good lunch doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be balanced: whole-grain bread, rice, a fruit or a vegetable; and a protein source like cheese or beans. Add whole-grain bread and a bowl of cut-up apples or melon to round out the meal.
Bite your tongue
As hard as this may be, try not to comment on what or how much your kids are eating. Be as neutral as possible. Remember, you’ve done your job as a parent by serving balanced meals; your kids are responsible for eating them. If you play food enforcer — saying things like “Eat your vegetables” — your child will only resist. Stop saying all that.
Introduce new foods slowly
Children are new-food-phobic by nature. Kids taste buds sometimes have to get used to a flavor before they’ll like the taste. A little hero worship can work wonders too. Anjali refused to even try peas until you tell her that Shiva eats his to stay big and strong. Now Anjali will eat peas all the time. Such small thoughts make wonders sometimes.
Get kids cooking
If your children become involved in choosing or preparing meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve created. Take them to the store, and let them choose produce for you. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad. If the child refuses to eat fresh fruit, your child and you make banana or apple muffins together — and she always eats them once they’re done.
Cut back on junk
Remember, you — not your kids — are in charge of the foods that enter the house. By having fewer junk foods around, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.
The more creative the meal is, the greater the variety of foods your kids will eat. You make smiley-face pancakes and give foods silly names. (Broccoli florets are “baby trees” or “dinosaur food.”) Anything mini is always a hit too. You should often use cookie cutters to turn toast into hearts and stars, which the children love.
Adjust your attitude
Realize that what your kids eat over time is what matters. Having popcorn at the movies or eating an ice-cream sundae are some of life’s real pleasures. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.
Give turmeric milk to your child on a regular basis. To prepare this milk, add ¼ or ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little black pepper to a cup of milk and boil it. Sweeten it with a little raw honey. Let the milk taste sweet. Children like sweets a lot.
In Indian customs, ghee (clarified butter) is given to the child from a very early age. Ghee not only improves digestion, it also improves the intelligence level, voice tone and skin complexion of the child. Even children who are allergic to milk can easily tolerate ghee.
Indian herbs, fruits and vegetables
Regular usage of very minimal quantity of Indian spices such as pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger stimulates the stomach, intestines and liver to secrete timely digestive enzymes. Try ginger juice with honey and peppermint chutneys to improve appetite. These can be made easily at home. They are great for the immune system as well. Zinc helps in building appetite. Wheat bran, cashew nuts, and pumpkin seeds are good for improving the level of zinc in the body. Try incorporating these in your child’s meals or snacks. Fruit-based desserts can help in building an appetite. They work towards digestion and boost metabolism. Psychologically, fruit-based desserts attract children to finish their meals faster. Best appetite-boosting fruits are berries, grapes, and apples.
Bananas are the number one food when it comes to magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that has proven to be effective in promoting sleep. On top of that, bananas also contain melatonin and serotonin.
Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and cabbage, are high in tryptophan as well. These foods also boast many other health benefits. Spinach is an essential food in any healthy diet.
Physical activity in children
Moderate physical activities in the form of outdoor games leads to demand for calories, by which makes the child to eat properly.
Avoid stressful topics at meal times
Sometimes, parents discuss finances or plan the child’s school schedule during meal times as spending time together is a rarity.
Having said that, avoid stressful or serious discussions during meal times. Switch off TV and Music during meal time. It kills a child’s appetite. Try talking about happy things and see him/her wipe the plates clean.
Offer fresh lime juice
When your child fusses over food and says that he/she is not hungry, offer sweetened fresh lime juice, instead of water. Avoid white sugar. Lime improves digestion and appetite. When the child is hungry, it will consume anything you give. Make the child get hungry and avoid giving the child what you feel like giving. Don’t thrust food through the throat of the child. It is very harmful and if the child intakes something which it doesn’t like, then there will be improper digestion and multiple health problems will erupt.
Keep a food journal
Where you note things they ate on good-food days. Ideas that worked on those days can be used for future reference. Doesn’t hurt if a retrial works its wonder again, does it?