Saturday 28 September 2019

Nutrients Dense Food For Picky/Fussy Eaters

Every mom desires to feed her children with nutritious foods, made in the home, that will nourish their growing bodies and minds. While you strive to provide the very best in nourishment for the kids, it's more challenging by the picky tastes children can develop. The foods they are eating today are the building blocks for the rest of their lives.
    There are all sorts of reasons why your child may not seem to be eating enough, be it a period of fussy eating, a reduced appetite due to a period of illness or even just being too tired to eat much after a jam packed day of school/nursery or play.
     Healthy eating styles are based on choosing foods that contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthful nutrients or ingredients and choosing the amount of calories you need to maintain a healthy weight. A way to do this is by packing all the 5 food groups in your child’s daily diet. The five essential food groups:

  • Grains (like rice, wheat, millet, maize and products produced from them )
  • Nuts (like peanut, almonds, cashew nuts etc)
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables including green leafy vegetables
  • Protein-rich foods (such as beans, eggs, seafood, poultry and other meat products)
  • Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt)

Getting your picky eater to try new foods can be a major challenge. Luckily, there are several ways you can change their habits, making mealtime a breeze!

  • Have a plan: Because it can take a while for little palates to come around, try pairing these easier-to-accept foods with other items they aren’t ready to eat (yet)Don't be too restrictive: Have standards for the foods your kids eat, but don't be so rigid that they never can have an occasional unhealthy dessert. Studies have shown that children who are excessively restricted with foods are more likely to overeat when they're alone.

  • Make meals family-style: Family-style means that each food item is placed on the table in a serving dish, and each person helps themselves to whatever items they desire. A picky eater will be less picky if he or she can serve their own plate. Additionally, this will greatly decrease the stress surrounding mealtime. Letting your child feel in control of their own plate eliminates the power-struggle that results from controlling your child’s meals. When kids are more relaxed, they are more likely to try new foods on their own. They can also get very excited about eating your food, so if family-style isn’t an option, letting them try food off your plate may have a similar effect.

  • Make whole food smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of nutrient-dense foods in your growing kids. Blending foods like coconut milk and oil, avocados, probiotics (yoghurt) and leafy greens with some berries and cocoa in a yummy drink is a treat most kids will enjoy!

  • Provide palatable protein sources: Most children get their share of protein from milk and yogurt but it’s the nutrients in eggs, meat, fish, and beans – iron, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc – that are essential for growth. If your child won't eat any animal protein; meat, chicken, eggs, fish, hide it the the food they like most. Meat is a good source of protein, but not all kids are fans. So get creative and disguise meat by adding it into other foods. For instance, you can add grided/minced meat in a jollof pasta/rice when frying the sauce. 

  • Explain to them food benefits in terms they will understand: Having conversations about what their food is doing for them, like, "Avocados make your brain nice and strong or beans make you to grow tall and strong" is a great way for them to start making good food choices. Little boys will eat veggies and drink milk if they know it will make them big and strong or “taller than daddy.” Little girls will eat veggies containing biotin if they know if will make their hair grow long and pretty. Conversely, having an age-appropriate but honest conversations about what junk food does to the body is important.

  • Eat together when possible: Studies have shown children who eat together with their family tend to eat healthier foods than children who don't. This is not always possible for everyone; but whenever you can, make a point to eat with your family. Turn off your cellphone and television, and use that time to talk and connect with your kids.

  • Be creative: Make food fun! Arranging vegetables in the shape of a silly face can be a simple way to engage your child in healthy foods.

  • Don’t force a food if they can get the benefits elsewhere: Don’t force your child to try meat if they enjoy eggs or yogurt. The important thing is that they have a balanced diet of protein, fat, carbs, and vitamins/minerals. If they don’t like one source of the nutrients, try another. 

  • Be consistent and patient: These tips are not miracle cures for a picky eater. As with anything in parenting, consistency and patience are two crucial qualities for you to have.

  • Make them aware of how precious and valuable they are: Teach your kids to love themselves enough to nourish their bodies with good things. If we fully realized our unique gifts and potential, would we fill ourselves with junk?

  • Be a good eater: If your children watch you eat healthy foods, they will be more likely to eat those foods. Your children watch you constantly and model your behavior. Eating a wide variety of new and healthy foods will encourage them to as well. Take steps to be a healthy parent role model.

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