A very common complaint by mothers to most of the doctors are “my child is very fussy regarding eating”, “he is not gaining weight at all since he has started eating family food”; His attention span is very less”; His immunity is not very strong hence he falls ill very frequently” and the list continues.
Toddlerhood is a critical time in human development. Any neglect at this stage can cause more or less permanent damage which is irreversible. Tastes and good eating habits in the early life tend to stay with toddlers. Preferences for certain foods, eating pattern and table manners are established early in life which continues into adulthood. Good feeding habits if inculcated properly in childhood become the key to good health later in life.
- Make meal timings a happy and enjoyable session. Do not force-feed your child and practice responsive feeding
- It is normal for a toddler to vary his appetite from meal to meal and day to day.
- Offer him family food and the same taste that a family eats
- Allow the child to sit with family and eat his food. This helps them eat better and learn table manners.
- Talk to kids about the food they eat. Talk about flavor, taste, ingredients etc.
- Provide meals and snack at regular intervals. Plan your meals or snack ahead of time before your toddler gets too tired or too hungry
- Offer them a balanced food with a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fat.
- While feeding toddlers, avoid distractions like mobile, laptops, Tv so that they can focus on meals
- Keep offering new food along with the food that they like. Try changing the taste, texture or look of the food and make it interesting.
- Let your toddler get involved in gardening, buying fruits and vegetables or simple food preparation.
- Set a good example – show to your toddler that parents enjoy a good healthy meal with varied foods
- Offer small serves. A plate full of food may put off toddlers’ interest to eat food
- A childhood dominated by sugary and greasy food usually leads to an adult who has a sweet tooth and likes fried munchies
- Avoid offering liquids/ juices/ milk along with meals. This will help toddler to eat properly and not filling his stomach with fluids
A healthy child is well worth that hard work and patience. May your child be healthy and fit.
DISCLAIMER – For children of 2 years and above. This article consists of guidelines and is not a substitute for medical advice, Please consult your HCP before feeding to your child.