Little People and Food…
Advice and Tips for a Healthy Little Person and Happier Household
Little people and their relationship with food can be a great source of stress for parents. We all want to give our little ones the best diet possible but there are various factors we cannot control. The first of these, yes, you guessed it is the little person themselves, and what they like, and dislike to eat. All parents have been there, and can completely relate to a child who is refusing to eat. Also, nowadays we all lead such busy lifestyles and so it can be difficult to be home for mealtimes or have enough time to prepare something homemade. With all of these challenges in mind, here is some advice which hopefully will help…..
Little people just know how to raise the blood pressure of their parents, they are skilled at it! One of the ways they do this is by refusing to eat the meal which has been prepared for them. This can be because they know your weak spot… Or, maybe it is because they are genuinely not hungry. Like us, little people sometimes are not very hungry so my advice is don’t force them to eat food it unless it is really necessary as it then becomes an issue when it does not need to be.
Make Food Fun
It is essential to make food fun for little people. Take them grocery shopping. Ok, I appreciate you may not be able to do this every week but definitely try to do it regularly. Or as I am sure most of you do, if you buy all your groceries online, make time to have a supermarket outing on a rainy day! Let your little people choose what they would like to eat and teach them about different foods as you are walking around the supermarket. One of the most surprising things I have found about being a mummy to three year old twins is that if you explain the reasons why they do get it (mostly!).
Ask your little people to help you set the table and if you have coloured table mats, cutlery and napkins then use it! Children love to be creative and to use their imaginations so when food is presented in a colourful way it is more appealing.
Involve your little people with food preparations, of course not daily, but when you can. Baking is a lovely activity to do with little people and they learn so many wonderful skills from this. Yes, it is messy and things go wrong (on a recent afternoon of baking a whole jar of hundreds and thousands was spilt on the kitchen floor!) but it is worth it to create something together and the joy on their little faces when they see the finished result is priceless.
It is important to mix things up and to let your little people try and experience different foods. If they don’t like it then that is ok, the most important thing is that you offer the food in the first place. I think too many of us assume that our little people won’t eat it so they don’t offer it. Often if I know my little people don’t like something I will try and give it to them another time, just because they refuse it once doesn’t mean they will never try it.
Again, I know this may not be possible every day, but when you can try to sit down with your little person and eat together. This may only be breakfast, or it can maybe only happen on the weekend, it doesn’t matter, just try to do this as it is wonderful for little people to see you eat and to bond over food.
To ensure your little person is eating a balanced diet a vitamin supplement is advisable. There are certain nutrients which can be lacking in their diets so supplements are perfect for this to bridge any gaps. Having tried lots of different supplements for my little people I recommend Abedic Multivitamin Drops for babies up to two years old http://www.abidec.co.uk/index.php?page=multivitamin-drops and then afterwards Haliborange who have a great Multivitamin Range in special Mr. Men and Little Miss designs which little people will love (http://www.haliborange.com).
Meal Planning and Ready Meals
If you can, try to plan in advance your meals for the week, or even the day or morning ahead. This way you can have all the supplies in you need to whip up something nutritious quickly. I don’t beat myself up at all if I am going to give my little ones fish fingers and chips I just make sure they don’t eat it every day and you will be surprised that when children get used to the taste of ‘adult’ food they actually prefer it.
Readymade meals definitely have a place when you are strapped for time but want to have something ready quickly for little people. Little Dish is a wonderful company who produce a range of meals which can be found in the chilled aisles in all major supermarkets. The meals are nutritionally balanced, and totally delicious (I have tried them myself)… What better win win for busy parents!
My advice is, let them have them! Of course in moderation… The key is don’t deny them as guess what, like us, if we deny ourselves something, we want it even MORE! You can spot the little person a mile off whose parents don’t allow them treats as they are the ones who eat them all, and very quickly! Educate your little person about treats and empower them, let them get to know themselves and their boundaries and guess what when they have had enough they won’t eat anymore.