Feeding young kids can be a fun activity for parents and guardians that need to look out for the health and wellbeing of their sons and daughters.
There is a whole world of ingredients, snacks and cuisines out there and rather than viewing the exercise as a tough regiment, it can open up a series of possibilities.
Stick to these principles when shopping for food for the children.
Keep The Snacks Healthy
Before their palate has been exposed to too many sweets and treats, it is worthwhile sticking to healthy snack options in between meals. Food that is rich in protein is ideal for development, including a variety of eggs, chickpeas, tofu, fish and chicken. Yoghurt, popcorn, celery sticks and ricotta cheese offer the necessary nutrients for a balanced diet. If they are packaged and presented like fun snacks, they will likely be consumed more than happily.
Keep Snacks Condensed
The best approach that parents and guardians can take with their young children is to manage portion control. This is a domain that even adults have to stay on top of for their own dietary requirements and many of those same principles apply to kids. Scale the food appropriately to ensure they are not having the same portions as adults, limiting their consumption to 2 eggs per day, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of yoghurt.
Tooth and Gum-Friendly Foods As Priority
There will be a time when some candies and treats are necessary, especially around Easter, Christmas and birthday time. Yet young children can suffer serious damage to their dental and oral health if they are exposed to lollies, sweets and confectionaries that get stuck between the baby teeth.
Don’t Be Disappointed If They Reject New Food
Just because a young child does not want to eat a particular food or they reject it early on, that does not mean they are a picky eater overall. Kids can take time to adapt to a new taste or texture. Rather than trying to force feed them some type of cuisine from the outset, see if there alternatives that they are happy to consume. This does not mean compromising on healthy foods overall, just a strategy of feeding them the necessary nutrients through an alternative means.
Keep Choking Hazards To a Minimum
Foods that are rich in nuts and seeds can cause choking issues for young kids if they are unaware about their hazards or simply haven’t developed with their swallowing yet. These ingredients are still a part of a healthy diet but if they are not curated first, they can become a choking hazard.
Encourage Them To Feed Themselves
To make the transition towards independence easier, it is best practice to encourage children to feed themselves. Even for one and two year olds who are tucking into some mushed potatoes or pumpkin with a plastic spoon, the sooner they can learn to undertake this activity without assistance, the sooner they will develop. There is an element of hand-eye coordination where improvement can be sourced here as well, but they will soon learn some key boundaries. From using a fork, spoon and dull knife to sipping on soups and hot foods, they will learn to embrace best practice if they are encouraged early on.
The best approach that any parent or guardian should take when feeding their young son or daughter is to use commonsense. Too much or not enough of some foods can be detrimental to their health and development, so it is important to strike a balance. There will be occupational therapy services and nutritionists for those who want to utilise professional expertise in this domain, but the vast majority of parents and guardians who stick to these principles will be meeting their targets for their children.