As a parent, it becomes our primary job to ascertain Healthy eating Habits in kids. We must introduce healthy food in our child’s diet, at an awfully early age. It’s important, therefore the kids are able to do the correct things at their higher age when it’ll affect their health far more.
We always have an ongoing battle with our children for food. Apparently, they’re consistently on the winning side. Healthy eating has become a problem for kids. We as parents should build a positive relation between Mother, Child, and Food. If we are attempting to induce kids into mindful habits, it uses food as healthy nutrition from their body.
Eating Habit in 0-6 months
Mother’s milk is the only healthiest and protein-rich food for a baby, for a minimum of the first 6 months. It provides an optimal amount of nutrients to the kid and also ensures building a strong immunity system for babies. It’s also very easy to digest.
Studies prove, food that the mother eats gets transferred in the amniotic fluid, and therefore the baby recognizes the taste.
However, there also are babies who are on formula or a combination of breast milk or formula or both.
As per health authorities, breastfeeding babies have more ability to fight against viruses and bacteria because it contains important antibodies compared to Formula milk. It’s also said, babies consuming Formula are more vulnerable to diarrhea and other infections.
Babies have a fist-sized stomach and may get hungry very frequently. Hence, keep feeding them at regular intervals. Best recommended after every 3 – 4 hours. Don’t worry about the provision, the baby is helping your body to produce milk supply timely as it requires.
Do not introduce your baby to water for the first 6 months. Mother’s milk has enough water content to stay the baby hydrated. it’d also cause infection.
Also introducing solid food before 6 months might cause colic problems in babies. By the time the baby is 6 months, they ought to have fairly developed the immune system.
Eating Habits 6-12 months
The diet that starts at 6 months is called Weaning. It’s basically the complementary diet which is given to the baby, as breast milk becomes insufficient in calories, which is very important for babies’ growth physically and mentally. As per our Indian culture, we start smooth solid food after or at 6 months old. Nowadays pediatricians may additionally recommend starting out solids within the 4th month itself.
I can relate to the present, my daughter’s teething process started very early than expected. So I used to be suggested to put my daughter on initial solid food, however, we chose to carry on till she turned 6 months old. Being a Parent, we wish to confirm the health of the kid.
It is best recommended to start out with dal or rice water (kanji), eventually moving on to something like milk and biscuits. Gradually we will increase the consistency of food, and start with porridge which is preferably homemade, dal khichdi, mashed potatoes, fruits like banana, chikoo, and other perishable fruits which are soft.
You can also introduce babies to juices at this stage, which has got to be homemade with zero sugar just to make sure, the baby consumes them in pure form. Fruits are inherently sweet so we do not have to add any sweetener thereto.
All this solid food is given in combination with the mother’s milk.
Initially, it could also happen the baby may not like the taste of what they’re eating however slowly as the taste buds develop the kid starts accepting it. Hereby, ensuring healthy eating habits in kids.
Eating Habits 1-3 years
Now the kid has reached a milestone journey of a year. By now the kid should have stopped mother’s milk for many and that they will enter the full diet. Which implies 3 meals and a couple of snacks a day. Make sure that there’s a correct supper time set for the kid, follow the timings they have to feed every single day. This may get them into the habit, routine, and discipline in addition.
Now that the kid is correctly changed into solid food, give the kid a chance to feel their food with their own hands which will lead to becoming independent and eating.
It is very obvious, kids will make it super messy but they’re going to learn to eat by experimenting.
There are certain foods which will be introduced only after 1 year which will ensure good eating habit in them. It’s recommended starting gradually then increase. Because the child is going to be latching to different levels of foods considering the consistency and it takes around 10-15 days for every child to regulate to something new.
Eating Habits in kids for 3+
Introducing healthy eating habits in a toddler can get fussy over the time. Now the kid is totally swooped into adult food. Parents now no more have to prepare separate food for the kid. A 3 year old and above by now should be within the practice of eating food on their own, of course, the mess goes hand in hand. But this can ensure their discipline and dedication towards food, which is directly proportional to creating supper time enjoyable.
The little ones are now able to attempt to test all new things to eat. Give the kid what they need to eat provided it’s on the healthy side. Again it goes without saying don’t force-feed the kid as a result, they will just start to build disinterest towards food.
Immune System in Kids
What does it mean to be immune?
The immune system is the antibody that fights against viruses and gems every second in our bodies. Stronger immunity makes the kids less sick. The immune system prevents infection.
Generally, during the initial phase of life kids tend to fall sick plenty especially cough, cold, and flu, etc. It’s also seen kids might face upper respiratory problems too. Newborns have a really weak system however, eventually they develop the same.
There are multiple sources of vitamins and minerals. Teach children to dine in the simplest way which is climate resilient also. Get into the practice of eating more crop cycle which suggests getting kids to eat more native food.
How to Build Immunity in Newborns
Newborns have weak immune systems, however. There are ways to keep them safe. Breast Milk is the best source to make a stronger system.
The initial milk is nutrient-rich and is extremely beneficial for the baby. It contains powerful antibodies.
Necessary vaccination to newborns also helps in boosting immunity.
Ensure once the baby starts crawling, enough playtime or tummy time is given to the baby, babies who are physically active are better equipped to fight against bacteria and virus.
Also, ensure they get enough sleep. They must sleep well at the hours of darkness and proper naps during the day too.
Keeping surrounding clean, hygienic and germ-free is additionally one important factor.
How to Build Immunity in kids/toddlers
The main source is to relinquish good food which we call a proper balanced diet to kids.
Letting kids play outdoors helps with the development of immunity. Kids get vitamin D3 naturally from the sun which is accessible and free from cost. So make use of the optimum.
Making kids drink boiled or filtered water from Water Purifiers is incredibly essential.
Vitamin C is the base to develop immunity. Vitamin C in the diet should be introduced on routine. Natural sources are Citrus fruits like oranges. strawberries, potatoes, broccoli, etc.
Zinc also helps in boosting the immune system. Zinc is found in red meat, Seafood, liver, leafy greens, nuts, cheese, milk, chicken, legumes, dal, yogurt, semi-sweet chocolate, etc. We can get our children to consume these foods.
Set a sleeping time for kids. Irregular sleeping patterns will lead to frequently falling sick. Make sure the kid sleeps for a minimum of 8 – 10 hours each day for stronger immunity.
Also, confirm the fundamental hygiene is maintained of washing hands thoroughly, frequently, and before every meal.
Mentioned above are all-natural ways to boost the immune system.
Take vaccination as prescribed by the pediatrician. Which will help the child’s consistent growth.
Explain the technique of healthy food and the benefits of healthy food. Introduce them to a variety of foods that they have never had before and allow them to react with their taste buds.
Things to Remember
Making sure there’s no distraction during dinner. For example, no television, no iPad, no phones, etc. Kids adopt this habit of distraction while eating from us. Which has, unfortunately, become our comfort however it’s not good practice. We become responsible to disconnect the kid with the food. It’s been scientifically proven that by having a meal with distraction we do not consume almost 80-90% of calcium and iron from our meal.
One other way Parents follow is feeding while playing. It could increase the probabilities of choking, coughing, and puking. Discipline the kid to sit down and eat. Be it a high chair or dining table where you can tie the kid to confirm safety.
It is ok if they do not want to eat any particular vegetable or fruit. Don’t force, we didn’t like certain veggies or fruits when we were young. We as a Parent just need to understand one thumb rule, our children learn from us, just eat it before the child. They’ll also start to eat. This will ensure a healthy eating habit in children.
Understand the child’s hunger signals. Parents’ goal should not be to force the food into the belly. Kids have the ability of self-regulation so that they know once they are full and that they have to stop eating. Remember the child won’t eat the same amount of food every day. Being active is the key sign that the food consumed is adequate enough.
Do not make any diet plans for kids, feeding them yourself rather than a nanny. This is due to a change in lifestyle. Kids only need attention, parents’ presence to make them feel secure. If this basic is finished during their important hour of the day kids will automatically get into the practice of eating healthy.
Build a culture of health within the family rather than restricting kids to eat junk. The explanation to why it’s not healthy to eat junk food always. Kids understand the language of explanation however they become reluctant or interested by restrictions.
If a certain food isn’t healthy don’t get it in the home. Children are visiting nag for it if it’s sitting within the freezer or within the home. In situations like these, one can make it as a family celebration time to travel out and eat, therefore the child knows it’s rare and they understand if we explain.
Make Eating fun for kids
Mealtime – Eating must always be introduced as a fun activity for kids so they do not negate any food. Dinner time should be practiced as a family time where parents will also get a chance to introduce healthy eating habits in kids, it is the best time to get kids connected to family. There should be discussions during the family time for supper.
Foremost, the distraction of any kind should be avoided so all the main targets and concentration is barely on food which is able to make it more enjoyable.
Involve kids – One good practice which may be done is to let kids help mommies within the kitchen, so they feel pleased with what they’re cooking. It’s alright to be a touch messy but they’ll have a good time making and also eating what they need cooked or helped you in.
Take their opinion – Ask kids what they like best or what they need to eat today. So, they will develop excitement and interest in them about the food. Kids will expect for his or her meal of the day.
Also, Read – https://speaksaurabh.com/two-to-tango/
Not to forget; a very special thanks to the DIGITAL DEEPAK INTERNSHIP PROGRAM for teaching the right process and keeping me motivated to write the blogs. Without DIGITAL DEEPAK and TEAM, this wouldn’t have been possible.