Raising Healthy kids
It’s 5pm and the battle for the snacks is right in front. Maggie, packed juices, french fries, cream biscuits, muffins! The conundrum continues with alternatives as Mac n cheese on the plate. I’m sure, it is the scene with most of the mums. Lunches are scuffle while snacks time and weekends have bouts of tussles, between healthy and junk’s available. Every mom has a picky eater.
Mama, when my friend can eat that burger, why can’t I? That nasty comparison is a consistent nagging for parents. Don’t bury yourself in that “mom guilt”. Most of the kids would love to indulge in chips and fries rather than sprouts and veggies. It’s a natural instinct, so stop the blame and play the smart Game!
Building health requires Healthy food ~Roger Williams
10 Hacks to raise Healthy Kids :
1. Physical Exercise :
Physical exercise should be a family affair daily. Exercising and sports burn the calories, which in turn improves the appetite.
After exercising / sports, offer kids high proteinaceous snacks as mentioned below, along with fresh home made fruit juice or a glass of milk.
- Soaked assorted nuts
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Baked potato
- Fresh cut fruits topped with cottage cheese
This will act as a perfect healthy start of the day. So quit lethargy and hug energy.
2. Flavour Matters
Kids would chomp away their favourite delicacies, as flavour matters. Try experimenting with flavours.
- A cauliflower veggie might sound boring, but roasted cauliflower, with chopped garlic, little pepper and lime, if garnished with some cheese tastes amazing.
- Vegetable soup tastes delicious, offer soup sticks along with it.
- How about home made Quesadilla, topped with all coloured bell peppers, grated cheese, beans? Peppers are super rich in Vitamin C while beans are rich in Iron.
- Even a spinach puree sautéed in ginger – garlic -onion -tomato paste tastes delicious. (My boy relishes this puree)
In nutshell, kids do eat, they just need few twists with the flavours. Does that sounds a win-win situation?
3. Portion Size :
Kids get discouraged when their plate is full of food. So why not keep a little bit of every food you wish your child to have for a particular meal? A portion of chapati can easily accompany some curd/homemade yogurt, few pieces of carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, beetroot, tomato. Try to make their plate colorful. They will mostly eat small portions of all food groups happily.
4. Smart Options : Healthy Snacks for Kids
Let’s raise our hands for #freedomfromjunk . Opt for products which are loaded with nutrients inside and are fun on the outside. The snack bell is ringing! Let kids discover that eating can also be fun.
5. Keep trying :
We cannot expect kids to start loving bell peppers for the first time they taste. We usually try for 3-4 times and then quit. Expose kids to veggies / Fruits at least 10-15 times. Even strawberries might taste sour for the first time. But don’t overboard them with lots of new flavours. 1-2 new flavours a week is enough for them.
6. Make them “Knowledgeable eaters” :
You might think, what will kids understand about healthy food. Well they do! My son knew what a junk food was and why we shouldn’t eat more of it, when he was 3yo. Take the help of digital mediums, school time acts. Take them along for grocery shopping and let them know the benefits of basic foods. Kids understand a simple sentence as “carrot makes your eyes strong”.
It’s time to make them empowered eaters.
7. Cook together :
If kids get involved in shopping and prepping meals, they will always be more excited to try the foods themselves. My son didn’t liked orange juice. We started involving him in the whole process. Now, he helps me from peeling to cleaning to putting in jar and even sieving. The excited champ is always ready to drink his Orange juice now.
8. Eat as a family :
Eating healthy has to be a family affair. We cannot expect a child to drink soup while you are up with your Starbucks coffee. Set an example for children. Try eating at least one meal together as a family. Let kids see healthy options you are eating, they will be convinced, for sure.
9. Avoid Big meals :
Kids might lose their hunger cues if asked to finish a big meal. It is always appreciated to give kids small diet, with varied food groups to obtain a real nutritional value.
Offer a light snack, if they feel hungry after lunch. Refill them with nutritious punches, every 2-3 hours, rather than pushing them for one big meal.
10. Hydration :
Keep them well hydrated throughout the day. Not just with water but include options as salads, buttermilk, lemonade (with honey), natural fruit-infused water.
I’m sure these suggestions will help you prepare a healthy, yummy regime for your child. How about you dear readers? Share your thoughts in the comment section.