Good nutrition is key, especially for growing children as it gives them the energy to live life to the fullest, while protecting them against malnourishment and reducing the risk of chronic disease.
“You are what you eat is a popular mantra that rings true for all, especially in the first five years when children are growing at a phenomenal rate,” say experts on the Kids Club Early Learning site.
A parent or guardian with a fussy toddler when it comes to what they eat is advised to be creative in the meals they prepare and ensure meals the little ones consume are balanced.
However, some children may also refuse to eat if they are having other health issues or unwell. Concerned parents are advised to discuss their child’s eating patterns when visiting any of the Primary Health Care facilities in the City.
These facilities have staff members on hand who can assess the child and give guidance on dietary needs based on the consultation with a professional nurse.
Below are healthy and child-friendly habits parents can adopt when preparing meals:
- Eat the rainbow! Create colourful plates with a variety of vegetables.
- Involve little ones in cooking, even if they are just watching while you explain the process.
- Keep snacks simple: a piece of fruit or handful of nuts.
- Limit sugary drinks, including juices.
- Take it slow: do not rush mealtimes. It can be frustrating when children eat slowly, but this helps them assess their appetite and stop when full.
- Avoid using food as a reward, as it can teach them to rely on it for comfort. Praise and encouragement, sometimes with a hug, can be enough reward for a child.