Infant feeding is an issue that parents are especially concerned about since our children are babies. Knowing if they are eating healthy, varied and in sufficient quantities are some of the aspects that most concern us, and that is why it is important to adopt habits that promote correct nutrition at all stages of their growth.
But it’s often easy to get overwhelmed by the rush and rush of everyday life, and even get influenced by advertising or the environment that lead us to make the following mistakes in feeding children .
1) Not paying due attention to breakfast
Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, but it is just as important as the others, since it provides between 20% and 25% of the daily energy intake that the child needs throughout the day.
For this reason, parents must ensure that our children eat breakfast correctly, putting varied and healthy options within their reach and dedicating the necessary time to have breakfast calmly , facilitating calm transition routines for the child after waking up.
The example that we sometimes give them is not good (hurrying them to have breakfast quickly, not having breakfast with them, having breakfast standing up with a coffee in hand while we run from one place to another, reaching for pastries and cereals instead of preparing healthy options…); hence the importance of becoming aware of it in order to improve.
2) Condition the tastes of children
On too many occasions we make the mistake of offering our children food that we only like and consume ourselves ; that is, we condition their tastes based on our preferences.
It is normal that the shopping list of a family is more or less similar every week, and that it is impossible for us to offer children all kinds of food. But if we detect that there is no room in our pantry for certain important and healthy foods simply because we do not like them, we should not deprive our children of consuming them.
3) Reward unhealthy food
Food should never be a reward or a punishment. In other words, we should not encourage with sweets or chocolate the intake of healthy foods that the child finds difficult to eat (for example, fish or vegetables), nor the other way around (punish the child for something they have done by forcing them to eat all the broccoli )
By doing this, the child will unconsciously associate that eating certain foods is something sacrificial, ugly and unpleasant , and will end up removing it from his diet. In addition, we will be helping to increase sugar consumption by using sweets as a reward or dessert.
4) Force to eat
Numerous studies have determined that forcing children to eat is counterproductive, since not only does it not help selective eating to be reduced, but it could have the opposite effect, and cause greater rejection. Forcing them to eat is also deceiving, blackmailing, manipulating, threatening, distracting them so that they open their mouths while we put the spoon in…
5) Buy too many processed foods
According to a recent study, the consumption of processed foods has skyrocketed among children. Within this group we find cookies, breakfast cereals, packaged snacks, sausages, ice creams, meat preparations (such as chicken nuggets or fish sticks), pizzas and even commercial jars for babies.
Many of these foods are normalized in the diet of children and babies, and generally due to ignorance of parents and the little time we have in our day to day, they are gaining ground in their daily menus.
Therefore, when making the purchase we must take time to read the labeling of the products and know that it is better and healthier to have fewer packaged products in the basket and more fresh products.
6) Offer drinks that are not water or milk
Too often, parents offer children drinks that are not water or milk, and that are not healthy or appropriate for their age .
Due to its low nutritional value and its high sugar content , pediatricians warn to avoid the consumption of drinks such as flavored milk, commercial shakes, sugary drinks, soft drinks, caffeinated drinks and vegetable drinks in children under one year of age.
As for fruit juices , pediatricians advise not to offer it to children under one year of age, and above this age not to offer juices frequently and never to replace whole fruit.
7) Be influenced by the environment
It is not always easy to try to get children to eat healthy when the environment does not help. And it is that parents often face family and social situations that destabilize the balanced and healthy diet that we want our children to have.
Going against the current is very complicated, but it is important that we bet on what we believe in and not let ourselves be influenced by what they will say, the rush of everyday life or the advertising of unhealthy (or unhealthy) foods.
8) Do not involve the child in the kitchen
One way to bring the child into contact with food in a healthy way is to involve them in the whole process: from planning the family menu, to purchasing food in the supermarket and its subsequent cooking.
In this way, we can ask our son to give us some suggestion for the menu, and accompany us to make the purchase. Let him, for example, choose the vegetables he wants to eat , weigh them on the scale and put them in the basket.
Once at home, we will encourage the child to cook with us the food we have bought. This will generate a great curiosity in them, they will increase their expectations and they will feel proud of their contribution.
9) Monotony and lack of creativity in recipes
Due to the lack of time and the whirlwind of everyday life, it is normal for parents to have a hard time being creative in the kitchen and we end up always falling into the same monotonous and little varied recipes.
But if our children have trouble eating, it is important that we make an effort to vary the menus and look for tasty, healthy and innovative recipes. Varying the way of cooking vegetables, or looking for new fish and vegetable dishes will allow children to expand the range of recipes already known.
As for the presentation of food , it is not about making each dish a work of art, but it is important to remember that food enters through the eyes, so an attractive presentation of food can become our best ally.
10) Not eating at the table with our children
Either because of the rush, the lack of conciliation or because we are busy doing other tasks, parents do not always share a table with our children. But sitting down to eat as a family is essential to instill good eating habits.
The example of parents and the nutritional education that takes place at the table play a very important role in educating children and creating a positive relationship with food. Mealtime should be pleasant, unhurried and without interference. Well seated at the table, parents will teach children to eat slowly, chew well and enjoy food.
11) Use the screens during the meal
Eating with the television on or watching the mobile or tablet is counterproductive for children , it creates a bad habit, they stop paying attention to food (they eat by inertia, entranced by the screen) and it “disconnects” us from each other .
Eating with screens cuts off all connection with what is really happening at that moment, the enjoyment of food, of the company and the construction of the habit of eating consciously.