Common mistakes we make when it comes to our children’s Nutrition
Many of us are guilty of over-eating a pack of biscuits or skipping a meal or two, but when it comes to our child’s nutrition, we must be careful of meeting their nutritional needs and inculcate healthy habits. But do we even recognize the little errors that slip by us?
With new virus outbreaks and diseases becoming more common with our younger generation, we need to take a harder look at the way we approach food. In our urban setting, food and eating habits have become complicated. From take-outs and choosing processed ingredients (plain flour, pasta, etc) while preparing food to skipping meals and over-indulging, eating in front of screens or while doing other activities, we have strayed away from the age-old custom of slowing down during meal times.
Often with both parents working, preparing food every day for the family isn’t always as easy to sustain. Even stay-at-home parents may want to get away from the kitchen as soon as possible to spend more time with their children or tackle other chores.
Children cannot distinguish between what is healthy and unhealthy for their bodies. In our hurried attempts to feed them as long as they're not hungry, we often end up making these mistakes that promote ill-health.
• We overfeed distracted children thinking that more food means healthier children.
• Recognize that packaged food, even if advertised as "healthy' or "for better growth" is hiding too much sugar in it.
• Processed food, noodles, and pastas fail to meet the recommended fibre intake.
• Choosing cheese or adding too much butter, chocolates and chips, add unnecessary fat to little bodies.
• Food is no doubt an important aspect of our lives but we cannot give it to constant snacking at odd hours since children then lose their inherent cues for hunger.
What could we do instead to help our child's nutritional intake ?
Choose organic foods if possible but always opt for natural foods.
Get plenty of fruits and vegetables, include a balance of healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
When buying packaged food, read labels and watch out for unnecessary sugar, fat and preservatives.
Prepare food using seasonal and local ingredients; as a rule of thumb, if grandma doesn’t recognize it, limit that particular food.
Practice mindfulness right from planning, preparing to eating a meal. Involve your children in each process and assign them tasks appropriate to their age.
Whatever other challenges we may face, with small changes, making a genuine effort for a family to eat quietly together and prepare meals together, will help us raise a generation who are more aware of the food that we nourish ourselves with.