Eating well, healthy, varied and balanced : a concept now heard repeated over and over again by nutritionists and experts. Especially when it comes to feeding a baby; learning good habits and educating the taste of natural foods is certainly easier as children than having to change incorrect practices consolidated over time as adults.
Yet, when it comes to the facts, when it’s time to put the dishes on the table, things seem more complicated than expected. Fruits and vegetables are rarely greeted with enthusiasm. An attitude perhaps caused by the messages that come from advertising; or from the tradition of linking the so-called junk food to moments of celebration and fun. Or again, from the unconscious convictions of the parents themselves. But whatever the origin, the goal to be achieved remains the same: to lay the foundations for a healthy diet , which ensures nutritionally correct growth and is the foundation of a good diet in the future.
What Should I do? Involving the child himself in the choice of dishes.
Create the menu
Having a programming of the weekly family menu is a highly recommended choice. Meanwhile, for the adults who take care of cooking; it is a way to optimize time and costs. A menu allows you to shop in a targeted way, without waste and without letting yourself be taken by the desire of the moment when you are at the supermarket.
To make children eat well without getting stuck on dangerous whims, a functional method is to involve them in drawing up the menu for the whole family. It is an important task, and they will be happy to be considered up to the decision for everyone.
To make sure you create a balanced menu, start with general nutrition guidelines . You can find interesting in-depth tips on nutrition for the little ones in this article on the children’s food pyramid: healthy and balanced diet .
Then, you just have to get to work.
Colors and designs
Dietitians did it too: they recommend different portions of fruit and vegetables based on their colors. Use this method to channel the interest of the little ones, especially those who still can’t write. Identify orange, red, green foods, draw them and then distribute them over the meals of the week. The image will catch the child’s attention at a glance, and he will know right away what is expected to eat that day.
Table with stickers
To make the experience even more fun, get some stikers on and off, to be used for several weeks. If you can’t find them, or if you really want to have a DIY job that lets you spend a few hours with your baby, make them yourself. Print or draw the foods on a plain sheet of paper, then laminate them.
It’s a job you can get done in the stationery; or, in a more traditional way, you can get a home version by covering the sheet with transparent packing tape. Cut out the images and stick them on the menu, with a pin or a piece of scotch tape, depending on how it is done: you can in fact use a cork panel, or a simple cardboard to attach to the fridge with magnets. You will be able to reuse the images several times.
For this experiment to work, it is important to allow the child to choose as much as possible , naturally always guided. Among other things, he will also learn to respect the tastes of others, putting on the menu what his father or sister likes. But, on the other hand, he too must have what he wants. The goal is to get the child to appreciate healthy foods, not so much looking for tricks to learn to accept them on the plate.
Then ask him to express himself and indicate what he prefers, and insert it. Maybe you will have to eat a cucumber sandwich one night, but it is a compromise that can be made
What about the exceptions?
Each rule has its own exceptions, so allow them. Both in the preparation of the menu and during the week.
The food pyramid excludes nothing, not even sweets . So, if your child asks you for his favorite cake, plan it, prepare it and let him find the right amount. And if for a meal he asks to change the dishes? Well, for a meal it can be done . Let him see you accommodating and he will be more accommodating with you. Provided, however, that it remains an exception!