Tips to help babies to adopt family food habits
My first and the foremost tip is being earlier the better:
The weaning process begins when the baby is around 6 months old. Try to adopt baby led weaning which helps you a lot in the future. Try giving them homemade family food with less spices and no salt initially, rather than giving them purees. Just make sure that it’s cooked for a little longer and has no salt until the baby is a year old.
Set a fixed routine:
The main objective here is to provide nutritious meals to your kids at least 5 times in a day i.e. 3 large meals and 2 snack in between. Fix a routine and follow it strictly at least for a week. Once you do this, your kids will be set to this eating habit and it's going to easy for you. There won’t be any fuss while eating as their body has already adapted this eating pattern
Eat together as a family:
"A family that eats together stays together". How many of you all agree to this? Involve your kids in your meal time so that they can also explore and get to know your family traditions and the eating habits. Set a separate plate for them with the same food as what’s in your plate. If you are worried about it being too spicy for them, just set aside a small portion while cooking before adding your spices. Kids love imitating elders. So if you sit and enjoy eating a particular meal it’s more, they will also enjoy it.
Give your kids the freedom of deciding how much they should eat
You don’t decide on how much your kid should eat. I know it’s going to be hard for us as parents to stay calm,if they don’t eat a certain quantity. But trust me; based on my experience I’m saying this. Let them enjoy and eat on their own. As long as your kids are active and healthy don’t worry about the portion but just consider in proving healthy meals.
Involve them while you are cooking by introducing them to various vegetables and spices:
Make it like a fun playtime for them and get them involved by telling them the importance of eating good food and how it was made. Kids enjoy seeing it in real time rather than playing with their toys.
Plan your meals ahead:
Meal planning has saved so much of my time and hassles in the kitchen. We spend a lot of time in the morning just by thinking what to cook and then get frustrated and cook something in a hurry. Instead, make a plan in the weekend and do a little bit of pre-preparation which will help you in cooking delicious meals throughout the week in a jiffy.
Don't always fall for your kids’ demands
I have twin girls and it can be overwhelming for me when they demand two different meals all the time. Remember you are not a home cook. You are a “MOM”. You decide what to feed your kids. But always make sure to introduce them to different vegetables, textures and spices so that they don’t get bored of the monotonous food.
Use of attractive cutlery:
Encourage them into self-feeding by investing a little money and time in buying colorful plates and forks and also making their food look really cute and pretty by adding an extra touch to it. For example instead of giving them a plain sandwich, cut it into different shapes and then give it to them. If they don’t like eating fruits, make it look different by putting it in a skewer. Anything that is visually appealing is gulped down first.
Teach them that meal time is not play time:
Don’t try to distract them by switching on the TV or phone or even books. Meal time is meant only for food and there's no place for anything else in the table. Let them focus and enjoy their food and keep in mind that this applies to us also. Make meal time as a family time, by giving your gadgets a little break and being present in the present situation.
Be a role model to them:
You can mould them while they are young itself. Don’t expect them to eat fruits while you are snacking on that bag of chips. If you want them to eat healthy then you must eat healthy first. Be a role model to them. Kids always look up to their parents. Set an example to them and enjoy eating healthy along with them.
Listen and respect to their cravings once a while:
There's nothing wrong in eating pizza. Only thing that matters is how often and how much you eat. Don’t deny them from all the junk food. Respect their cravings too. Fix a day where they can eat whatever they want to eat.
Last but not the least, be patient:
Patience is the key! Nothing happens overnight. You must keep trying and put in lots of efforts to achieve something. Don’t forget to keep repeating your words. Self feeding can be messy, but trust me, in its all worth it.
I hope these few points will help you to get your kids into your family eating habits. Do let me know how you felt about this post in the comments section.For more Homemade Food recpies for kids