I’m pretty sure that all parents wish their kids only the best. And no doubt everyone at least tried to teach their babies healthy nutrition. Let me share some vital tips on how to do this in practice. All pieces of advice are based on my personal experience, and this, believe me, works. I came to this partially intuitively and somehow through reading appropriate books about kids and their upbringing. And I simply borrowed some tricks from other parents.
Tip #1: No ‘Baby’ Food
Yes, you heard it right. After the baby can chew on an equal basis with adults, he should eat exactly the same as the rest of the family. You, of course, can (and even should) pick out, for example, seeds from olives at first before giving them to your baby, but don’t make specially prepared ‘kid’s” meals or, even worse, feed your baby with special baby food from jars. It’s not necessary. So save time and effort – cook as usual. Moreover, you can ask your baby to help in the kitchen to get meals done together! If you don’t have enough time to make dinner and your family is extremely hungry, you should consider buying household appliances to make your life easier and save extra minutes for yourself.
Tip #2: Be Consistent: ‘No’ Means ‘No’
If you introduce a new rule, stick to it and don’t change your decisions halfway. For example, if you promise dessert only to those who eat their dinner (entire or agreed portion in advance), then don’t let it weaken. If the kid hasn’t eaten the meal, then no dessert. And then let him be offended only by himself if his older sister was given fruit but he wasn’t. Is it a shame? Of course! But these are the terms of the game.
Tip #3: Set an Example
It’s silly to tell kids about proper nutrition by eating a hamburger and drinking Coke. Kids do not what we tell them but what their parents actually do. Recently, I yelled at my daughter for having all the clothes messed in her room when she reasonably told me: “Mom, everything is exactly the same as in your room.” And she was right … I had nothing to say. Therefore, teaching your baby to healthy eating starts, first of all, with yourself. Let’s think straight about your eating habits. I recommend making notes during 5-7 days, including weekends, all that you eat and drink. This is sobering to many people and forcing them to take a fresh look at their nutrition.
Tip #4: No Sweets on Weekdays
Yes, exactly. The point here is to make sweets really bring joy. And when this joy becomes commonplace, it’s no longer joy at all. Many parents give their kids sweets and cookies on a daily basis. They say you need sweets for the brain to work. Firstly, this is not true, because the brain needs glucose, not just sweets. We’re able to get glucose from the ‘regular’ food. Secondly, by eating sweets, kids don’t have a ‘place’ for a normal meal. Sweets really spoil the appetite. So leave the treats for weekends.
Tip #5: Drinks – Only Water
Milk, juice, fruit drinks and compotes – this is food but not drinks to quench your thirst. Of course, you can give your baby some juice or fruit drink (pay attention that they are free of preservatives and don’t contain sugar). But remember that this is already food, which takes the place of more healthy foods. Personally, I give kids a small glass of juice on weekdays for breakfast and on weekends we drink vegetable smoothies with berries and fruits.