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STRATEGIES TO DEVELOP GOOD EATING HABITS
Better nurture good eating habits when your children are young. It carries into their adulthood. I find the need to inculcate having breakfast before leaving home for school as another aspect of good eating habits.. My daughter was trained to have her breakfast before leaving for school when she was young. She told me that some of her friends go to school without breakfast and wait for recess and become very hungry in between. Whereas she was naturally not very hungry at recess.
Now let's explore several other good eating habits. I have taken 'Developing good eating habits' Pg 22 - 26, by Lynn Heng Soo Lee, one of the chapters from the book, 'Nurturing Young Children', editor Dr Khoo Kim Choo.
"Inculcating healthy eating habits in young children is based on a positive feeding relationship between the parents and the child. ... in which both parent and child participate and interact during mealtimes. ... and is characterised by a feeding pattern that is smooth, easy and emotionally satisfying. ... Children who are pressured to eat more ... , will revolt, resist and avoid eating when he gets the chance. ... Parents will be contributing to good eating habits in young children if they are sensitive, listen attentively and respect the child's needs."
Below are some of the Strategies To Develop Good Eating Habits given by the book.
One, as a parent, you should offer a variety of foods from the basic food groups - bread, cereal, rice and pasta
- milk, yoghurt, cheese
- meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts
Two, promote independence and decision making ability by allowing your child to choose what he wants to eat from amongst the nutritious food provided by you. That is, ask your child, 'Do you want spinach or broccoli?' Both are nutritious. And you give your child a choice between eating either one of them.
Three, feed young children regularly in both meals and snacks forms, at 2 to 3 hours intervals because of their small stomach but big energy output.
Four, recognise that children eat smaller portions. Therefore, give child size servings. Wait a while. Give second helpings only when he asks for more.
Five, you, as the parent must also eat the food that you want your child to eat. You are the role model for good and healthy eating habits for your child.
Six, presenting food for children creatively sometimes entice children to eat.
Seven, do not rush your child to finish his food. Do not threaten the child if he doesn't want to eat during a meal. You must make your child perceive mealtimes as pleasurable.
If you are a young parent, go and read up this chapter of the book. It will be insightful.