Im going to make a few things very clear here:
1) I have no kids, and its very unlikely I will anytime in the future. So I haven’t a clue how hard it is, nor do I really want to find out first-hand.
2) I do know good nutrition and can give you an unbiased, fact based opinion on what you ‘should’ do regardless of hard it is to actually execute this.
3) I will try and keep this as simple as possible. But I promise not to judge you for being too tired to actually pull this off.
On that note, lets begin.
Most of us average humans are born with the innate ability to feel hunger, and satiety. As kids, we know exactly how hungry we are, and will push food away as soon as we are full.
This instinct is, however, driven right out of us by doting parents, well-intentioned neighbours, grandparents and most fellow Indians who live by the belief that force feeding children is actually the way to go.
We assume without question, that kids haven’t a clue about anything including their own bodies, and that it is up to us to force them into all things deemed right by society from day 0.
Where nutrition is concerned, I’d like to tell you, you’re wrong.
A healthy relationship with food should start early. Food should be eaten to satisfy hunger and hunger alone.
Clearing the plate to help a starving Somalian will NOT save the Somalian and will set one little human up for a lifetime of disordered eating.
Here’s an alternate way to help your child eat:
1) Have a healthy relationship with food yourself. No food is ‘bad’ or ‘good’. There’s nutritious food, food that should be eaten in moderation and food that should be eaten on occasion. All foods are ok. Just not all the time.
2) Don’t fill the poor kid up with sugar filled drinks and send them off to school hyper-active(Cerelac, Horlicks, Boost, Snickers, Dairy Milk.. they’re all just as bad). Plain full fat milk is best.
3) Encourage eating when hungry. Make (nutritious) food available through the day. Don’t keep junk in the house. Save junk for when you’re craving it, and make a family trip out of it IF you really want it.
4) Never force feed a child when they don’t want to eat. We all have different needs and different eating patterns. Allow the one thats most natural to become a habit. Some of us like 3 big meals, some of us like many small meals. It’s all good.
5) You can decide what is available to eat. But never control how much a person(however little he/she is) should eat.
6) Focus on getting out to play. Be it a sport, games with the neighbours or some version of running and catching, get out, play. Don’t preach about exercising for the sake of exercising, or worse, exercising as a means to lose weight. Kids don’t need to hear about that yet.
Its as simple and as difficult as that. Have a relaxed but mindful attitude towards food and exercise and you’ll do just fine.