EXCLUSIVE: Expert advice on the right way to practice healthy eating with and for toddlers

Parents, do you know that one of the most important things is to inculcate good eating habits in your toddlers? Your toddlers will have to adhere to a well-balanced diet in order to stay fit and fine.
EXCLUSIVE: Expert advice on the right way to practice healthy heating with and for toddlers
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As a parent, you will have to make sure that you help your toddler in choosing fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and even foods that are jam-packed with protein. Not only this, having healthy smoothies with them, eating fruits or even nuts can help them understand the importance of healthy eating. To top it all, make sure that your toddler tries to choose healthy food or snack. Here we tell you how you can develop good eating habits when it comes to your toddlers.

Though, as a family, you may have a hectic schedule but it is imperative to pay that much-needed attention to what you put into the mouth of your toddlers. Make toddlers eat unhealthy food can cause problems like vomiting, nausea, gases, or even acidity. This in turn will also have a negative effect on their body like obesity, and they may continue to follow this unhealthy habit even during their adulthood. You will have to make sure that you provide healthy food to your toddler to help him/her stay active, energized, perk up their mood, prevent dangerous conditions and help them maintain an optimum weight. So, make sure that the food you introduced your child to is unprocessed and is loaded with all the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You will have to see to it that fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and home-cooked meals are part of their daily diet. Avoid restaurant, spicy, oily, or junk food. Cook with your toddlers and make them understand the importance of steamed, boiled, and roasted food.

Here is a complete guide for parents about what you must include and exclude from your toddler’s diet

Limit their intake of sugar

Give foods to your toddlers that do not carry sugar. Cut down on their intake of refined sugar that is sucrose, glucose-fructose, white sugar) honey, molasses, syrups, and brown sugar which not only damages your teeth but your overall health too. It is no brainer that sugary foods can invite tooth decay, and rob your child’s peace of mind. Hence, be mindful and act accordingly. Instead, you can give your toddlers pureed or even mashed organic fruits. Try to give them raisin syrup after consulting the nutrition expert. Likewise, while eating with your toddler you must also make sure that you don’t indulge in sugary foods. After all, you MUST practice what you preach, right?

Choose unflavored stuff

Introduce your toddler to unflavored milk in order to get that daily dose of vitamin D and calcium. Avoid flavoured milk and other beverages. Parents should avoid flavoured yogurt as well. Keep it simple and healthy.

Help your little one stay hydrated

Help your toddler drink water from time to time. Limit their intake of juice. Instead, eating a whole fruit will be a good option.

Go low on sodium

It is no brainer that foods jam-packed with sodium can raise your blood pressure. Furthermore, you will also be shocked to know that it can be harmful to your toddler as well. High sodium foods will make your children fall prey to heart problems or even obesity in later life. Try to limit the intake of salty and processed foods. Moreover, as a parent, you will also have to follow the same rules. Ask your expert about the sodium content needed for your child and plan accordingly.

Keep healthy foods at home

Avoid storing chips, cookies, cakes, bread, or khari. Instead of that, you must keep cheese, whole grain crackers, low-fat foods, trail mix, nuts, popcorn, pita, kale chips, or even baked sweet potatoes. Praise your kids after eating healthy foods as this will encourage them to take up good eating habits.

Meet their daily protein requirement

You will have to include fish, eggs, and even beans. As parents, you can help them understand the importance of proteins for the body. Be creative and while making them eat eggs you can decorate the boiled eggs or create different shapes out of them. Be innovative and ensure your child’s participation too.

Choose healthy fats

Go for monounsaturated fats like olive oil, almonds, pumpkin, or sesame seeds. You can add polyunsaturated fats such as flaxseeds, walnuts, or even omega-3 fatty acids like salmon or sardine. Trans fats are a strict no-no. These include packaged, processed, margarine, and even fried foods. Help your child read the nutritional label behind the foods.

About the author: Dr Peeyoosh Rankhamb, Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, Mumbai

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