Healthy Meal Time
F
ulfills Children's Psychological Needs

Healthy meal times

Healthy and happy family meal times together with mouth watering healthy food stimulates children’s appetite and influences their all round development. Children flourish with the fulfillment of their psychological and emotional needs.

Meal time interaction provides psychological and emotional support to children.

Social and communicative skills of children sharpen in happy environment at meal times as they share experiences with their parents.

Children at 3 years of age and above should be encouraged to eat at the table with the entire family, even though they may make some mess there. It reassures their status as eligible  members of the family and boosts their self-concept.

Guard against children eating alone while watching TV

Atmosphere at meal times

Atmosphere at meal time affect children's personality development.
All efforts should be made to create a positive and a stress free environment at the meal time.

Healthy meal time is regarded as a special time of the day by the family when all the members get together to eat and share their pleasant experiences.

Parents are the role models

At meal times children follow parents' food habits.
Parents are their role model, also for healthy eating habits. The food habits formed in childhood are followed through out the life.

Children's needs for healthy meals

Children need 3 nutritious meals and 2 healthy snacks per day.
While looking after children’s essential nutrition needs also cater to their food preferences.

Convert each meal in to nutritious balanced diet. How you convert your child’s desired dish in to a healthy meal is only a matter of a little creativeness.
Share your recipes for children.

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Introduce variety of foods

Children often prefer only a limited variety of foods and opt for one particular preparation day after day, but they should be introduced to a variety.

Variety helps make healthy meals. 
Offer new foods repeatedly with slight variation in presentations, may be at 8-10 meal times, before you establish your child’s acceptance or rejection towards it.

Do not force a child what he rejects consistently. May be some particular ingredient does no agree with him, or he could be even having that particular food allergy.

My Pyramid helps create healthy meals

Allow personalized eating plan based on the guidelines provide by the food pyramid, individualized on the plate. Over a few days, the diet supplies all the essential nutrients necessary for child health and development

Prepare the plate in the kitchen to help children learn the correct proportions of healthy food choice.

Healthy meal requirement varies with child growth stages

Increase in appetite is normal phenomena to meet the increased body needs during growth spurts. This should be differentiated from some children’s tendency to over eat, another challenge for parenting skills.

Regular monitoring of child’s growth on growth charts and evaluating the degree of fatness on BMI charts will help preventing childhood obesity and the related diseases.

How can the tendency to over eat be controlled?

  • Include a 15 - 20 minutes pause before giving the second serving.

  • Offer foods that are insufficiently consumed at the meal time, such as vegetables, whole grains, or fruits.

  • Don't first restrict a food and then give the same food as a reward on a particular accomplishment.

Differentiate over eating from healthy eating

A child is said to have a tendency to over eat when he continues to eat even after he has had a full meal. Sometimes this is seen in form of binge eating.

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