One can not emphasis enough upon the need of healthy eating habits at an early age. Their nutrition at this age is a deciding factor of their health and well being as adults.
For the first six months of a child’s life, milk is the sole source of nutrition for a child. It is once he slowly and gradually begins the intake of solids that we mothers find ourselves perplexed.
Even if we are well aware of significance and need of a well balanced diet, we find ourselves stumped because of various factors.
Common Issues Parents Face With Children’s Nutrition
The most common factor in my opinion would be access to healthy and fresh foods. Also as a child grows there are various factors that can affect his mood and taste buds – teething, sickness, developing sense of taste, lack of interest or loss of appetite are some of them.
A major challenge that I have faced and continue to as my son is growing up, is his moody eating habits. From a very young age he has been very picky about what he would eat. While most suggest that food should never be served under disguise, only a mother who’s son wouldn’t eat any fruit or vegetable knows there are no rules.
Gradually we have been developing taste for different kind of veggies, he is atleast ready to try them out. Honestly there have been times when I would sulk and fret about how to do I give him a little extra bit of nutrition.
Here are some methods that I choose (or atleast these pacified my mom brain that my son was getting a nutritious meal) :
My son loves dosas and so we have eaten pumpkin, spinach, beet root, bottle gourd, carrot, broccoli and even gobhi dosas. Grate or blend veggies to add to any dish that your child likes to eat. I have shocked myself at times, with my skill of adding veggies to every food item that he eats. From idlis, parathas, khichadi to dosas, pulav, poha add them to everything.
Seeds contain all that a plant needs to grow, they are very nutritious needless to say. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. I dry roast a variety of seeds, blend them into a powder and store them. This powder can now be added to milk, porridge, parathas, even khichadi or as a dressing on any food item. Some of the seeds I use are – Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts.
Dry fruits and nuts
I also keep a powder of roasted dry fruits like – walnuts, almonds and cashews to add to Gunbir’s meals. Making nut butter is also an easy way of incorporating these superfoods in a child’s meal. Simply roast nuts and blend until you get a paste like consistency, making nut butter is simple and the taste is rich as well.
Switch to healthier options
You can make a meal that your child loves and yet turn it into a superfood. Millets are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, iron and fibre and they can be used to make a variety of food items like pulao, porridge, dosas, pancakes, rice. What I also do is choosing a variety of flours like chickpea, nachni, soy bean, jowar, bajra, or rajgira to make fulkas and parathas for my son.
If there is one thing I have learnt in four years of mothering a picky eater is that as they grow they will do what they see and not what they are told. If we make healthier choices and amp up the nutritional value of our foods our children are sure to do the same.