As a mom, one of my constant worries is if my son is finishing his meals and whether he is getting proper nutrition or not. As a baby it was so easy to feed him healthy meals. He was just discovering tastes and frankly, he ate up anything healthy that I served up. It was a great time for me as a mommy as I was more than happy to be able to feed such healthy nutritious food to my little munchkin.
Cut to now and at 3 years old he is a lot pickier and choosier and meal times can go either ways. I have tried really hard to keep him away from junk food as much as possible.
What they eat as kids now will form their eating habits for life. Thus, it is very important that healthy eating habits be cultivated right from start. If kids enjoy eating healthy meals and associate making healthy food choices with happiness, they will form lifelong good eating habits.
But eating healthy is just the beginning. They need to have play time as well. Read on to find out more.
Making meals great again!
Here are a few easy things I do to make meal times exciting and to make my son interested in healthy food choices.
- Exciting Shapes & Smiley Faces for the win: Shapes and figures always interest kids. Offering a fruit, cut it into small shapes using a cookie cutter and see him happily eat up his star shaped apples and carrots. Smiley faces make everything better J
When I make him an egg, I use a bit of tomato sauce to make a smiley face. Or when offering him some healthy whole wheat pancakes, I use honey to do that. Same with sandwiches or bread or even chapatti, trust me a happy smiley on the plate makes eating so much more fun.
- Roll It up or Mash it up: This is one of the easiest and fun ways to offer them healthy food. Roll up their favourite chapatti or tortilla rolls with some healthy veggies, add a dash of mayo and roll it into a roll. Cut it up into small pieces and offer it. Kids love interesting food, just play around with the plate and watch them enjoy their meals. Another fail safe method that I use is I add vegetables to his staple food like rice and chapatti.
Colour me baby:
Frankly even we adults love the experience of dining at gourmet restaurants where half the art is in the presentation. The food that looks pretty tastes so much better. Same is with kids, try serving them a visually appealing plate with various fresh colours. Put colorful food like carrots, peas and rice on the plate.
Juice it up:
If your child is bored of eating same fruits, offer them fresh cold pressed juices or smoothies made at home without the added sugar. It is a fun change for them. Give them a straw and watch them slurp it up happily.
The one thing that I now love doing is going grocery shopping with my son. We roam around the aisles with him picking up fresh produce and putting them in the cart. It works wonders when he comes with me and chooses. Last week we went to the super market and bought fish. <y son couldn’t wait for us to reach home and fry it up for him. It was a delight to see him eat it all up and with so much excitement
Let’s do it together Little Chef:
You can further involve them in the cooking process and build their interest. They are gonna love to eat something that they helped cook. Give them some small safe things to do like washing, or rolling etc which don’t involve sharp object or fire. Just ensure that an adult is around while they are in the kitchen.
Family play time is a must for growth and bonding
Spending time together as a family is very important for a happy childhood. And playtime has emotional, social, physical, and cognitive benefits. We spend a lot of our time after work playing with our son. For me my post office hours are first and foremost for my son, I prefer to delegate all possible household chores so that I may concentrate on my son. We love to play together and here is how we make our play time interesting.
- Read together: We love to read together as cultivating the habit of reading early on is the best habit. My son loves story books and we have been reading to him since he was 2 months old. It is a daily activity for us.
- We have a lot of pretend play and we make up stories. Being a 3 year old most of our stories consist of dragons, super heroes and hot lava taking over the city. I am amazed at the imagination that his young mind has. Kids have a very creative mind and we as parents should always encourage them their imaginative powers. Don’t tell them that it is not true or not possible, let the young mind dream, imagine and develop.
- Go out together: We love to go the parks or some outdoor place on weekends and spend time together as a family.
- Physical activity: Physical activity or play is very important for proper development for kids. Their young bodies need proper physical exercise like some sports. We take him to the park in the evening and play cricket or football with him.
Lastly don’t forget that they are just kids and let them be kids. Also, give them time to develop their taste, if they don’t like something in particular, don’t try to force it. May be they learn to eat it at a later time.
So, these are few simple and easy tricks that can make routine interesting for growing kids. Try these and I am sure you will find like them.
Until next time,