Pre-schoolers can be quite fun and interesting to be around. However, the subject of food can be quite volatile, especially if not handled well. Children can be fussy eaters but it is still possible to ensure that meal times go well and that your child gets the required nutrition. Keeping a few things in mind will come in handy to ensure good pre-school nutrition.
Preschool nutrition habits are very important
Take time to consider which type of foods will be most appropriate for your kids. In most instances, children can eat what the rest of the family members eat. Therefore, there is no need to prepare special meals for toddlers. By observing what your child eats, you will know what their favorite foods are and what foods they are allergic to and which foods they tend to avoid. Always prepare a balanced diet that consists of proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates. Stock healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables, at home. This will help your kids get their required daily nutrition. Avoid buying junks foods as they will interfere with your child’s appetite and they have little nutritional value. You can occasionally buy some treats for your kids, so that they do not overindulge when they come across junk foods.
Another habit you need to institute is to have regular meal times at home. This entails having the whole family gather together during meal times. This will encourage younger kids to eat, as they observe the older kids and adults in the house eating. Your child will also have an opportunity to learn proper table etiquette, as well as know how to carry out conversations at the dinner table. Minimize distractions by avoiding anything that may draw away their attention from their food at meal times. This includes TV or telephone conversations. During meal times avoid being too strict on your kids. Allow them to be messy, so that the child feels free to learn how to feed themselves without fear of being reprimanded for dirtying the floor or table.
To encourage your kids to eat particular foods, ensure that you also eat healthy. Your child will imitate what you do, as children mostly learn by observing their parents. Introduce a wide variety of foods to give your child an opportunity to try out different things. Sometimes it takes time for kids to like a particular food. If your kid does not act favorably to one food, you can keep trying after sometime, as they may change their minds later on.
Sometimes you have to flexible when it comes to eating schedules. This is because a number of things can interfere with a child’s normal feeding time. For instance, when a child is sick, they may eat less than usual and when they are undergoing a growth spurt they will tend to eat more than normal. Schedule snack times so that your child does not go for long periods without food. If the child snacks well, they may be less hungry during meal times, so do not push them to eat more than they can. That is why it is important that you provide healthy snacks in between meals. Designate an area where your child can sit down to eat their snacks. This helps them concentrate on their food. This is important as it will help the child know when they are full. It will also help them finish their snacks without interference.
Don’t be overly obsessed about your child’s weight. As long as they are eating well and they are healthy, there is no need to pressure them to eat a lot more or less, depending on whether you want them to put on weight or lose weight. Most children know if they are full, so they know when they need to stop eating. If your child tells you they are full, there is no need to force them to eat more.
Limit the amount of television your child watches. Children who watch a lot of television are more likely to be overweight than children who watch only a few hours of TV. This is because TV can be distracting to children, to the extent that they will not now when they are full. Such children tend to overeat.
Avoid picking fights with your kids when it comes to food issues. This is because you are less likely to win such fights. Be patient with your child and try not to make food such a big issue. This will help your child respond more positively to food during meal times.
Choosemyplate.gov is an excellent source for more information regarding preschool nutrition habits