September 23, 2016

Healthy eating and life style practices are essential for inculcating correct eating habits in the PRESCHOOLERS. Awareness about balanced diet micro nutrient rich food is essential. YOUNG HAVE TO EAT HEALTHY. PRESCHOOLERS should eat at least 4-5 meals a day with emphasis on fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses and dairy products. The greater the variety of food, the better.  Since a child’s stomach is smaller than an adult, so the child needs to eat frequently to achieve the energy and body building demands.

Many parents worry about what their children eat — and don’t eat. However, most kids get plenty of variety and nutrition in their diets over the course of a week. Until your child’s food preferences mature, consider these tips for preventing mealtime battles.

A balanced diet gives kids the nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development and the energy for exploration. Through eating right and active play, PRESCHOOLERS can maintain a healthy weight and stay energized as they get ready for the next big step in their young lives.

Following some basic guidelines can help you encourage your kids to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.

Respect your child’s appetite:

Remember, children have their own internal signals for hunger, satiety, and nutrient needs that guide them in making appropriate decisions about food. Forcing PRESCHOOLERS to try every food or clean their plates is not helpful and may be harmful to a child’s future relationship with food.

If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force a meal or snack. Likewise, don’t bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate. This might only ignite or reinforce a power struggle over food. In addition, your child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration or become less sensitive to his or her own hunger and fullness cues.

Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him/her the opportunity to independently ask for more.

Stick to the mealtime

Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. You can provide milk or pure juice with the food, but offer water between meals and snacks. Young children need to snack throughout the day in addition to regularly scheduled meals. Keep the snacks small and provide water instead of juice or milk so your preschooler will be hungry at mealtime.

Allowing your child to fill up on juice, milk or snacks throughout the day might decrease his/ her appetite for meals.

Introduce new foods

Young children often touch or smell new foods, and might even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he/she takes the first bite.

Encourage your child by talking about a food’s color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child’s favorite foods.

Make it funny

Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner. Serve a variety of brightly colored foods.

Recruit your child’s help & be creative

At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don’t buy anything that you don’t want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.

Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups.

 Limit TV to Minimize distractions

Turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals. This will help your child focus on eating. Keep in mind that television advertising might also encourage your child to desire sugary or less nutritious foods.

Serve healthy dessert

Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which might only increase your child’s desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week — or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.

Avoid Picky eating habits

Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime even if he or she doesn’t eat. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.

If you’re concerned that picky eating is compromising your child’s growth and development, consult your child’s doctor. He or she can plot your child’s growth on a growth chart. In addition, consider recording the types and amounts of food your child eats for three days. The big picture might help ease your worries. A food log can also help your child’s doctor determine any problems.

In the meantime, remember that your child’s eating habits won’t likely change overnight — but the small steps you take each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating.


Dr. Nitisha Sharma

Ph.D – Foods & Nutrition

(Clinical Nutritionist & Dietitian)

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