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Nutrition in toddlers (A Complete Guide)

Nutrition in toddlers

Most of the children nowadays are fussy eaters. For a parent who’s working it is all the more difficult to handle the situation. The child is mostly pampered in families since they are the only child or have a single sibling.

It is all the more difficult for a parent to control the food choices as parents are away for almost 12 hours. The caregiver would like to have an easy option. They would give in to child’s demand for food that is specifically not very healthy or does not take care of their health and nutrition. Deficiency is very common in these children majorly iron, calcium, and vitamin D. What are the major conflicts between parents and a child?

i) what will the child eat

ii) how much will they eat

iii) when they will eat usually

The parent would try to convince the child first. They would then try to threaten them by saying I won’t talk to you or I will take you to the doctor and get you an injection or they would say I will beat you up.

Now most of us know that these things do not work. What can be the possible reason for a child to be a picky eater? Out of all the multiple reasons here are some of the reasons:

1) can be excess milk or juice in the diet.

2) can be snacking in-between mealtime. In between snacks may reduce the appetite of a child. The reason for that is that children have an abdominal size that is very small. There is not much pace left for a full-fledged meal because of which when you serve the food the child does not want to eat it at all or might not be able to finish the meal. We must also understand that this is a period of little slow growth. After a rapid growth period, the child is moving a lot and is socializing a lot and is able to tell his choice more clearly. Some of the reasons for a child being a fussy eater could also be:

i) over feeding

ii) force-feeding

3) Anger and frustration by the parent at mealtime

After talking about so many problems related to picky eaters let’s look at the solution. First of all, mealtime should be a more peaceful and family time. Ignore negative behavior by the child try and reinforce positive behavior. For example, you can really appreciate the child when he takes a bite of a vegetable that you always wanted the child to eat or you can appreciate how they are handling the food. This makes them feel very confident and feels happy about the mealtime.

Try and have the same food as the child is having this helps them to understand that this kind of food is acceptable and this is what people eat. Make sure they come to the table hungry. Try not to give them any snacks, juice, milk, etc. Say two hours before the meal. Whatever is served at the table should be taken by all family members. One must make sure that the adults in the family do not say no to a particular vegetable, salad or Dal. This has a huge impact when we talk about developing good food habits in long run.

How can a parent introduce new food to a child?

My first suggestion will be that you should have that food in front of your child rather than having your meal after the child has slept or is busy playing. The second suggestion is to start with one teaspoon of that new food. Introduce that food after a week’s time 2-3 time so that the taste becomes acceptable. introduce a new food when the child is very hungry also helps as they are more eager to taste it and the possibility of rejection of food is lesser. Mealtime can be divided into three main meals and two or three snacks, 2 hours apart. Offer solid foods examples snacks, poha, sandwiches, sprout, fruits, etc. first, and try to offer liquids like shakes and juices later.

Use different kinds of cutlery and plates so that the child is attracted to the food that has been served to the little one. Grown-up children can help in choosing the vegetable or deciding on which vegetable should be cooked in that particular meal. Children generally love finger foods and hence giving them finger foods like cucumber or carrot sticks, along with a dip.

Another way of feeding a healthy meal to toddlers is in form of spread. They like to spread or smear. This encourages them to eat. Let them spread peanut butter, cream, mint yogurt, chocolate spread, or fruit Fury over their bread or chapati it increases the possibility that they would like and enjoy the meal!!

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