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MUNCHING TROUBLE

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Children may be cute and cuddly, but when you have to make them eat healthy food, they change in an instant, crying and fussing. Gurjyot Kaur brings you tips to make your children eat healthy and nutritious food

Do you find it difficult to get your children to eat healthy meals? Children today are accustomed to eating junk food and gorging on sugar-rich packaged foods. They don’t understand the need to eat healthy, so you have to make that choice for them. But, chances are they might not be willing to follow your rules. If you have a tough time getting your child to eat healthy foods, here are a few pointers.

Plan your meals well
You can get your child to eat healthy veggies by simply planning meals for the day. Make a list of the things that your children like to eat and try and put a healthy spin on those dishes. If your child likes pizza, for example, use whole grain wheat for the base and top it with vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli and pumpkin to add a healthy touch to a food that they are willing to eat.

You can also experiment with new dishes, keeping in mind your child’s eating habits. Turn their favourite junk food item into a healthy dish. Ask them if they’d like to add anything special to the menu and combine it with healthy choices. If they like chocolate, add chocolate to their milk. Give them options and let them choose from different varieties of healthy items.

Stop pampering them
It often happens that children mould themselves according to their parents’ habits and behaviour. And, even though you love your children, you should never pamper or spoil them. As a parent, you have to make them understand the importance of eating healthy food. It’s okay to let them eat junk food sometimes, but don’t let this become a habit.

Discourage your child from eating unhealthy snacks; instead speak to them about the benefits of fruits and vegetables. You can also ask them to participate in cooking the family meals and turn the cooking session into a fun activity. Get creative and add fun elements to the meal by cutting fruits and vegetables in different shapes or surprise your children by serving food in quirky and adorable plates.

Make the first meal special
Make the most of your mornings by preparing a delicious healthy breakfast for your little ones. Prepare meals with high-fibre cereal or oats along with fresh fruit drinks. Get every member of the family to join in at breakfast and exchange your thoughts over eating healthy. Your children will appreciate the family time.

Eat healthy foods yourself
Children tend to mimic their parents, so if you eat healthy foods, they will too. That’s why you should change your diet to include healthy ingredients. Get the whole family to switch to healthier options.

Make healthy eating the norm
To avoid their picky behaviour, prepare a set food menu that everyone at home has to follow; don’t give in to their demands and prepare a special meal for them. Also, start introducing new elements such as eggs, avocado and berries in their breakfast routine slowly and steadily.

Treat them once in a while
Treating your child or letting them know that you will treat them later is a very effective method to get them to eat healthy foods. If your child throws tantrums or refuses to eat healthy food, tell them that you’ll treat them to something they like (an ice cream, perhaps) if they are willing to eat healthy food without fuss for a week.

Don’t give up
We know that it’s heartbreaking when children refuse to eat what we know is good for them. However, don’t get disheartened and give up. If they reject a particular dish that you’ve worked hard to prepare, think about how you could make it look more appealing and taste more appetising. Try serving the food in a different manner. Presentation is important, so garnish the food before serving it. It’s okay to be strict sometimes, but don’t give up.

HEALTHY CHILD, FRIENDLY FOOD
Add these delicious and healthy foods to your meal plans. Your child will love them and they won’t be filling up on junk food every so often.

Muffins
Bake fresh chocolate chip muffins and garnish them with fresh fruits for a healthy and tasty snack.

Pancakes
Your child will love breakfast if you feed them fresh apple or banana pancakes. Pour some honey over them to make them even healthier.

Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin doesn’t impress everyone, so to make your children eat this healthy ingredient, turn it into a dessert!

Oatmeal cookies
Cookies are loved by everyone! Prepare healthy cookies by adding oatmeal into the cookie dough.

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