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Many habits adopted in the first few days define how the rest of your life will unfold. If you have a child, you need to focus on establishing healthier eating habits in their home. These will not only benefit the child now, but also later in life. This is how you can improve your child’s diet.Read also – Healthy food for children: Here are the 5 healthy foods that you must give to your children

A balanced diet and good eating habits in children play an essential role in their physical and mental development. When children learn healthy eating habits at a young age, they lead healthier, more productive lives as they grow. Sometimes parents tend to struggle with children who are picky eaters, and it’s like a Herculean task to convince the child to eat certain healthy foods. Thus, parents should keep track of the child’s eating habits from the very beginning. Eating well can prevent childhood obesity, disease, infection and allergies. We can boost immunity and stay safe and sound. Here are some tips for instilling healthy eating habits in your child.

7 EASY WAYS TO INDUCE GOOD EATING HABITS IN YOUR CHILD

  1. Start the day small with a healthy breakfast to improve concentration and memory. Meals should be healthy and contain fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and lentils. Avoid junk food, spicy, fatty and canned foods. Cheat food should only be allowed on weekends.
  2. Do not let the child eat while watching TV or using a cell phone. Encourage the child to eat slowly and chew food well to avoid acidity. Encourage your child to focus on the texture of food and savor its taste and aroma.
  3. Make meals fun with conversation and sharing, not a time for scolding or arguing with the kids. Let the child eat alone with everyone.
  4. Involve your kids in grocery shopping and meal preparation to learn about their food preferences and teach them about nutrition. Let your children try different foods if they want. Don’t stop them from trying.
  5. If candies or chocolates are used as a reward, children may think these foods are better than other foods. Do not tell the child that he will have dessert if he finishes the rice or the vegetables, because that sends the wrong message about the other foods.
  6. Read food labels and limit foods with trans fats. Make it easy for toddler to choose healthy snacks such as fruit, peanut butter, celery, kakhra, nuts, popcorn, chana, masala puri, whole grain crackers and cheese. Fatty or finger foods should be avoided.
  7. Try getting them to drink water instead of colas, sodas, or other sugary drinks. Preparing meals at home can help monitor a child’s oil and salt intake.

(With contributions from Dr Jagdish Kathwate, Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician, Motherhood Hospital Kharadi Pune)