We sure know that how much ever we talk about nutrition and other important facts about food for children, finally we have the task of getting them eat. So making the food more attractive helps.
Having said this, here are some tips to make the food tasty, healthy and attractive.
- Rice can be made interesting by adding vegetables to give a different color and flavor -like beetroot rice, coriander rice and children will never be bored.
- Adding oats to other dishes like dosa, Chapathi or in desserts is a definite way to assure that the cereal is consumed.
- If buckwheat flour is available, it can be mixed with wheat flour to make chapathis and buckwheat noodles will make the child more inclined to savor it due to its color. Addition of vegetables in it will make it healthier.
- Pulses/legumes can be included by preparing dishes like adai which are different and preparing them in interesting shapes will defiantly make them attractive to eat.
- If the child does not like to eat a single fruit then they can be given as a salad in an attractive bowl and adding honey to it for sweetness which is more healthier than adding sugar
- Nuts and dried fruits can be mixed to the breakfast cereals
- Children don’t like Popeye’s favorite spinach as much as they love him. Yet we can trick them to eating the greens by adding a handful of them to dhals, using them as gravy bases [Palak paneer], chutney [coriander,mint etc]
- Milk and milk products are the easiest to feed a child as they can be given in many forms and sometimes the little one doesn’t even realize what he is eating!! Adding a teaspoon of grated cheese to soups, mixing tofu with other dishes, and flavored milk like strawberry milk prepared with home made strawberry syrup, milkshakes, smoothies, adding a teaspoon of ghee to the rice dishes, serving raitas are all ways to ensure they get the proper nutrition.
- Mask eggs in other dishes, by sandwiching them between idlis or as omlettes, bhurji [scramble] with some coriander leaves/mint to mask the odor -if that’s what is preventing them from eating eggs.
- Whenever possible substitute jaggery/honey for sugar
The most important thing is that parents should not show their likes or dislikes towards a particular food during the meal time as children imitate the adults and it can form a bad impression on them!
Avoiding processed /preserved foods, instant foods –like instant noodles and too many servings of deep fried foods and chocolates will definitely pave wave for a healthy body. That does not mean they should be deprived of all the goodies but they can be given occasionally and substituting baked and roasted foods instead of deep fried foods all the time.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and many a times children tend to miss/avoid it. We must ensure that they have a cereal based dish,fruit and milk [or milk product] for breakfast as it will help them perform better in school.
Did you know that the child’s lunch box must provide 1/3rd of the daily nutrient requirement? So when packing a lunch box for the kids, it is better to keep a small portion of all foods groups so that they are not bored with a single item in the box and this way we can meet the 1/3rd need as well.
When the child is at home, it is better to serve small frequent meals that are nutrient dense so that they provide variety and also meet the requirements.
Many parents prefer to watch TV during the meal time especially during dinner time and hence neither the parent nor the child knows how much food is being consumed!!! It is best that the meal time environment is calm, relaxing and pleasant.
And last but not the least, here are some more Tips to make kids eat better
Thank you PJ for your wonderful post!
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