Every parent knows that a child needs a healthy balanced diet however many parents say they find it difficult to get their child to eat certain foods. If this sounds familiar, we have some tips to help you change all that! So what is a balanced diet?
It is a mixture of fruit, vegetables and proteins found in dairy products, meat, fish, cheese or pulses together with carbohydrates, starches such potatoes, rice or bread and a small portion fats. Â Some children will completely refuse certain groups i.e. fruit or meat and that is OK, so long as they are having the nutrients from other foods. Â The best way to overcome this is to keep portions small and keep re-introducing the foods every few weeks.
My 7 top tips are:
1.Â Â Offer a variety of foods and colours at each meal.
2.Â Â Use child sized plates and cutlery
3.Â Â Keep mealtimes fun
4.Â Â Donâ€™t get angry or upset if your child doesn’t eat
5.Â Â Let your child experiment and try your food too
6.Â Â Allow your child to help prepare/chop food
7.Â Â Talk about why food is good for your child
Encouraging your child to have a healthy balanced diet is one of the best starts you can give to your child and will ensure they grow up healthy, happy and sleep well at night.
It is hard if as a Mum you’ve spent all day cooking or gone out and bought a new recipe book and lovingly cooked a meal only for your child to say, â€œI donâ€™t like thatâ€Â especially when they’ve not even tried it! I find that if you ignore their protests and leave it on their plate they will often touch it and end up eating it by the end of the meal! Of course if a child really doesn’t like something, itâ€™s best not to put it on their plate or only ask them to try a small amount.
If you find your toddler or baby refusing savoury foods and only taking sweet foods, I would cut them out until your child decides to eat a mixture of both. Your child may get upset, however they will not starve and a hungry child will certainly eat.
Giving your baby a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables will ensure your child doesn’t get sick and sets good habits as they grow older. Too much sugar or processed foods i.e. out of a packet can affect your childâ€™s blood sugar levels and make them more difficult to settle or become hyperactive. Boys and girls need high energy foods to maintain balance ideally from starches such as potatoes or pasta, not crisps, sweets or biscuits.Â Boys also enjoy more red meat which aids their muscle growth and iron reserves.
Encouraging your child to have a healthy balanced diet can be trying at times, however is one of the best starts you can give to your child which will ensure they grow up healthy, happy and sleep well at night.
If your child is a fussy eater and you’ve tried endless techniques or have concerns or simply need some new ideas for healthy meals, give me a shout and weâ€™ll soon have your child off Ella pouches and eating â€˜normalâ€™ or lumpy foods.