Babies flourish on an exclusive diet of breast milk or formula for the first six months of their lives before they are introduced to solids, either through traditional weaning methods or Baby Led Weaning. Regardless of the method, extra care should be given to the ingredients used when introducing solids as some babies may be allergic to a certain food.
Food allergies occur when the body recognises a particular food as harmful and triggers the immune system to create antibodies to fight the food allergen. If the body is too sensitive, even touching or breathing in food can trigger a reaction.
Allergies vary from mild to severe and in some cases, can be potentially fatal. Reactions can occur within minutes or up to two hours after being in contact with the food.
A staggering 90%¹of all reactions in children can be attributed to eight common allergens: eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts (e.g. walnuts and pecans), fish and shellfish.
Skin Itchy red bumps, eczema, redness and swelling of the face, swelling or the lips and tongue
Gastrointestinal tract Tummy ache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
Respiratory system Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath
Cardiovascular system Dizziness or fainting
What to do if your child has a food allergy Medical attention is necessary if your child exhibits the signs of a food allergy as the doctor can conduct further allergy tests to find out what else your child is allergic to. As food allergies are unpredictable, the same food that caused a mild reaction could cause a more severe reaction at the next feeding.
Soft first foods that seldom cause allergic reactions include avocado, banana, steamed butternut squash or sweet potato, steamed carrots and pear. Babies benefit from wholesome, fresh foods which will provide them with the necessary nutrients to grow healthily.
If you are following the traditional weaning method, you may want to make a puree using fruit or vegetables. You can start off with mild tasting foods like potatoes, avocado, spinach or the stronger tasting ones like carrot, pumpkin and beetroot. Puree can be made in advance, frozen and reheated.
When to Introduce Allergens
For decades, it was widely believed that allergenic food was to be avoided until a certain age in childhood. However, there has been growing evidence that controlled early exposure of allergens to young children could be beneficial in helping them develop immunity.
If your baby is at high risk of being allergic to foods, consult your doctor who can arrange for your child to be exposed to allergenic food in a controlled and safe setting. Termed as a “desensitisation” treatment, the process involves giving the child precisely measured doses of allergenic food in increasing doses in order for the body to rewire its response to the food.
At home, however, do observe your baby during mealtimes and record your baby’s meals, so that if an allergic reaction occurs, it would be easier to pinpoint the food which caused the allergy.
Does your baby have a food allergy? Share with us some tips on how you manage it in the comments below!
Lactation cookies have won praises from breastfeeding mums for helping to improve and maintain breast milk supply.
Breastfeeding has benefits for both mum and baby, and breast milk has been proven to contain all the required nutrients and antibodies of growing babies. It is a versatile ingredient that can be added into your baby’s first solid food or frozen to soothe your baby’s teething gums. Breast milk supply is largely affected by diet and hence, mummies worry when their supply dips, and is unable to meet the demands of their hungry babies.
Galactagogues are foods that are reported to boost breast milk supply. Galactagogues are also called breast milk boosters. On the other hand, ingredients that cause a visible dip in supply are known as milk killers. Of course, other factors come into play when breast milk supply dips.
Apart from being quick healthy snacks that help breastfeeding mum stave off hunger, lactation cookies well-loved for helping to increase breast milk for some mums.
In Singapore, there are many stores selling lactation cookies, but you can easily do your own with your favourite ingredients too! Here’s a quick recipe to make lactation cookies!
Who says healthy lactation cookies recipes can’t be delicious at the same time?
Delicious and healthy lactation cookies recipe
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
1/4 cup water
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brewers’ yeast
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
Mix flaxseed with water in a small bowl and let soak for 5 minutes.
Beat butter, white sugar, and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract; beat to incorporate. Stir flax seed mixture into the butter mixture.
Mix flour, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar in a separate bowl; add to butter mixture and stir until just combined. Fold oats and chocolate chips into the dough.
Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet.
Bake in the pre-heated oven until the edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipes for lactation cookies contain known milk boosters and it is not surprising that this recipe contains oats, flaxseed, wheat germ and brewers’ yeast. Oats are high in iron that maternal mothers mostly lack. When the iron levels are replenished, milk supply should increase as well.
As for flaxseed, it increases the ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), which partially converts into omega-3 fatty acids, a must-have for breast milk production. Excessive consumption of flaxseed could lead to an increase in weight and food intake.
Brewer’s yeast and wheat germ contain iron, protein and complex carbohydrates. Brewer’s yeast has a distinct strong smell and can be omitted if you prefer. To increase the fibre content, try replacing the all-purpose flour with wholemeal flour.
Lactation cookies may work for most mums, but, do note that overconsumption of these snacks could lead to weight gain, so as with other foods, eat in moderation.
Your kids can participate in cutting out cookie shapes when you’re baking those lactation cookies!
If you have an older child, he or she can help you with cutting out shapes for the cookies as there are many known benefits of cooking and baking with children. It’s a great bonding activity too!
Do lactation cookies help boost breastmilk for you? Try this easy and delicious lactation cookie recipes and let us know in the comments!
Cooking with kids has plenty of benefits for both parent and child. It is an essential self-care skill to possess, and an essential survival skill which would benefit him even as an adult. With the right equipment and guided opportunity to cook, your little one could very well grow up to become the next celebrity chef!
Parents, if you’re thinking of cooking with your kids, look beyond the mess and look forward to the myriad of goodness it brings for the junior.
Encourages your child to have healthier eating habits
The process of cooking together starts from deciding on a dish to create, researching for recipes and shopping for ingredients. When you cook with your child, you can substitute unhealthy ingredients for healthier ones and makes changes to preparation methods. For example, instead of deep-frying chicken nuggets, you can air-fry homemade chicken and vegetable nuggets.
This influences your child to be more accepting of nutritious ingredients in his or her diet. Healthy eating habits that are inculcated from young play an important part in combating childhood obesity which leads to health problems.
Cultivates Project Management Skills
Cooking is very much a project which involves various types of skills. Modifying the recipe amounts to suit the household, substituting ingredients, shopping for ingredients to preparation and plating – all these involves a fair bit of calculation and decision-making.
Teaching your child to wash the utensils and tidy up after cooking will teach them to be responsible and be in charge of their own mess.
All these are the fundamentals to essential project management skills that are necessary when your child goes to school and eventually, the workforce.
Teaches the importance of hygiene
Children who cook together can be taught the basics of food preparation and handling, which includes personal hygiene rules like washing their hands thoroughly before and after touching food and keeping long hair tied back.
This includes simple rules such as keeping raw ingredients separately from cooked food and using separate chopping boards for meat and vegetables. You can use this to explain how others may fall very ill if hygiene protocols are not adhered to in the kitchen.
Introduces basic Scientific and Mathematical concepts
“250 grams of flour, 2 eggs, half a block of butter”.
Ingredient lists introduce your child to basic mathematical concepts such as weight and fractions. Moreover, they can visualise fractions easily during ingredient preparation.
Cooking is a mixture of Science, Math and Art. Through the various cooking methods like baking, steaming, boiling and grilling, different outcomes to the ingredients can be observed. Having hands-on experience helps them to remember these concepts clearly.
Encourages picky eaters to try new ingredients
Preschoolers tend to be picky eaters. What better way to encourage them to try new ingredients than to have them create their own meals? Introduce them to some healthy ingredients and how it helps to keep them active and grow strong. Encourage your preschooler to touch, smell and even sample the ingredients while cooking.
For a start, try creating some of these easy and healthy pumpkin dishes together!
Have you been cooking or baking with your children too? Do share some of your best memories when cooking together as a family!
Introducing solid food is an exciting milestone in a baby’s first year of development. It is recommended to start solids only when the baby shows signs of readiness and preferably after turning 6 months old.
There are two main weaning approaches – Traditional Weaning, where the baby is fed by the caregiver with a spoon, and Baby Led Weaning, where the baby is allowed to self-feed.
Safe foods are those with the least possibility of causing allergic reactions, such as homemade vegetable purees and fruit such as avocado and steamed pumpkin.
We asked some mums to share with us their child’s first food and how the experience was like.
“I fed Liam banana and breastmilk for his first food and he puked it all out because he wasn’t used to the texture and it wasn’t smooth enough. That scared me! For Katie, I started Baby Led Weaning with her from the start. I gave her steamed broccoli and she took it like a champ!
“I was supposed to feed my baby avocado, like what I fed her elder brother, but I was lazy to go to the market that day and ended up feeding her carrots strips instead. She shivered with every bite and her brother got curious and tried taking one too. He immediately regretted it and put (it) back!
However, her unofficial first food was actually a custard bun that her elder brother accidentally left on the play mat, which she nibbled on when I wasn’t paying attention!”
“Cora’s first food was rice cereal because we attended some event where she was fed with rice cereal! She was greedy and cried when there were no more samples! Afterwards, I started her on avocado mixed with breastmilk.”
“Her first food was porridge! A Japanese friend gifted me a weaning book while we were living in Switzerland. Even though the book was entirely in Japanese, I could easily understand it by looking at the pictures. Of course, I had a little help from Google Translate too. It’s probably due to this way of weaning that allowed her to eat natto without a blink of an eye.”
“My elder girl was a few days shy of six months old when I prepared steamed pumpkin and grapes which were cut lengthwise for her. I practised Baby Led Weaning and sat her in a booster chair with a dining tray. It was such a mess! She nibbled on the pumpkin and the grapes but started smearing the pumpkin all over the tray! Clean up was a nightmare! Thinking back, it was a fun memory to have.”
A mix of milk with fruit seems to be a popular option as a first food. As infants below six months old are fed solely milk (either formula milk or breastmilk), it makes sense to mix milk together with a bland tasting ingredient such as avocado or rice cereal to encourage them to eat.
When preparing your first food for your baby, be sure to avoid honey, nuts and eggs as honey is unsafe for babies below one-year-old, and nuts and eggs are high on the allergens list. Have fun researching and deciding on the best first food for your baby!
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a much dreaded viral disease that most commonly occurs in children below five years old and leaves them feeling immensely uncomfortable. It is contagious and easily spread by direct contact of bodily fluids. A child with HFMD may suffer from fever, sore throat, ulcers and a rash on their hands, feet and buttocks.
The first symptom noticeable in your child is usually fever, followed by a sore throat, accompanied by a decrease in appetite. Painful sores and ulcers and rashes subsequently develop a few days after the fever begins.
As there is currently no treatment for HFMD, the uncomfortable symptoms can be relieved, as child and parents have to wait it out. Because the disease spreads so easily, especially among young children, it’s advisable to avoid public places and stay home until the doctor gives your child the clearance, and that it is okay to return to childcare or school.
Ways to relieve the pain and help your child feel better when diagnosed with HFMD
Create an oatmeal bath
Blisters are a much-dreaded symptom of HFMD. Oatmeal is effective for soothing inflamed skin and is extremely relaxing. To make an oatmeal bath, simply grind a cup of raw, unflavoured oatmeal into a warm bath and mix it until it is thoroughly blended into the water. Soaking in an oatmeal bath for 15 to 20 minutes helps to calm those angry rashes on your child’s body. Remember to moisturise after drying off!
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
To deal with skin irritation, lots of moisturising is necessary. Apply coconut oil or skin moisturiser liberally and frequently after baths to help your child deal with those rashes or blisters that are prevalent during the course of HFMD.
Offer nutritious food in creative ways
Kids who are down with HFMD may refuse food because the painful ulcers in their throat making it hard for them to swallow. Despite the pain and decreased appetite, it is still important for them to take in nutritious food, and stay hydrated. Chinese soups are nutritious and comforting for poor appetites.
The icy temperature of frozen breastmilk popsicles or fruit lollies can ease their mouth sores and relieve pain. If they are unable to take in solids, offer non-citrus juices, cold fresh milk or Einmilk formula milk to ensure they receive the daily essential nutrients, especially when their body needs to fight the HFMD bug and heal on its own. Lots of plain water is recommended to flush out toxins.
Plan some indoor activities
Besides feeling lethargic and listless, your child will feel uncomfortable dealing with the HFMD symptoms and may feel sad being homebound for more than a week. Look on the bright side – when was the last time you get to spend so much time with your child alone? Though sick, your child will likely enjoy your undivided attention. If your family is open to screen time, you can indulge your child with his favourite movie. Otherwise, work on simple craft activities together, like this lion mask. Set up a teepee or makeshift indoor tent with blankets and pretend you’re at a safari camp! When stuck indoors, imagination works wonders to broaden the mind.
Lots of Tender Loving Care
Lastly, shower your child with lots of tenders, loving care and attention. Emotional encouragement aids in speeding up the recovery process and builds up a stronger parent-child bond too!
What are the best ways to provide relief for your children when they are down with Hand, Food and Mouth Disease? Do share with fellow parents below!
Developed by the Health Promotion Board (HPB), My Healthy Plate presents the ideal servings and food suggestions for feeding your toddler. Babies above 6 months of age can be fed with formula milk such as Einmilk, as part of their daily diet to supplement their required nutritional intake.
The importance of eating nutritious food and healthy eating can be instilled in toddlers so that they understand how to take care of their bodies from the early years.
What better way than to learn from books? We’ve compiled a list of fun books on toddler nutrition and healthy eating for gadget-free, parent-child bonding time.
Why Should I Eat Well? Clare Llewellyn
Why Should I Eat Well? is a question and answer picture storybook that answers the common questions kids have about food and how eating well relates to their fitness. The book shows how eating fried and fatty foods make one lethargic and even sick while eating well makes skin shiny and keeps them energised. There are notes at the back for teachers and parents with follow up questions and suggestions, so parents can pique their child’s mind through discussions about healthy eating.
I Eat Vegetables Hannah Tofts
Comprising clear photographs of vegetables with their names, I Eat Vegetables is a perfect book for very young children to learn about commonly seen vegetables. In addition, they learn which types of vegetables need to be peeled before eating.You can prepare some vegetables for your toddler to touch and feel while reading the book for a multi-sensorial experience.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a perennial favourite with children. Other than teaching toddlers about the life cycle of a butterfly, it shows how the caterpillar starts with healthy food and eventually falls ill after gorging itself with junk food. Children learn not only about eating healthy food but eating in moderation as well. The holes in the pages make it fun for toddlers to poke their tiny fingers through.
Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food Stan and Jan Berenstain Old but gold, the Berenstain Bears are a familiar classic for kids. In this book, Papa bear and the cubs learn how to adjust their diets after gorging on too much junk food and tipping the scales.
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato Lauren Child In this book from the Charlie and Lola series, Lola is a fussy eater who absolutely refuses to eat her carrots, mashed potatoes and many other things, especially tomatoes. Her brother Charlie uses imaginative ways to describe the vegetables to eat. This book presents encouraging support from siblings, and some kids do need creative encouragement when it comes to eating their veggies.
These children books can be purchased from bookstores or borrowed from our local libraries. As with all habits, healthy eating habits in toddlers take time to develop, so don’t feel too discouraged if you don’t see instant results!
Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is a weaning method that encourages babies to self-feed. It may sound messy and scary, but here are some benefits of BLW:
Instead of steaming and blending food especially for your baby, you can portion out ingredients for your baby and add seasoning for the adults. You can also eat while baby self-feeds!
BLW babies are encouraged to self-feed. By doing so, they get to determine what and how much to consume, rather than being coaxed or forced into finishing their food with traditional spoon feeding. With BLW, parents trust that babies know their own bodies and will stop eating once they are full. It is the basis of regulating their appetite.
Babies on traditional weaning are fed soft foods which do not require chewing. For BLW, babies are exposed to a variety of different textures, shapes and tastes. The babies learn how to chew their food before swallowing. This strengthens their jaw muscles as well.
Crinkle cut vegetables for an appealing appearance and make it easier for baby-led weaning babies to hold.
Before attempting BLW, you should ensure that your baby is ready for it. Look out for these signs before starting as safety is of priority:
Once your baby is ready, you can start! BLW does not have to be as messy as people think. For easy cleanups, lay a large picnic mat on the floor below the high chair and use a high chair which is light and easy to hose down (this is popular among mothers).
Babies below the age of one should never be fed honey or nuts due to the risk of botulism and a risk of choking respectively. Other foods with possible allergens include egg and shellfish (crabs, shrimp, clams, lobsters etc).
Baby Led Weaning encourages babies to choose healthier foods.
As a rule of thumb, foods prepared for BLW should be soft enough to squish between your thumb and index finger. Some popular first foods for BLW babies include avocados, banana, steamed carrots and broccoli.
It is best to ensure that food is cut in strips about the length of your index finger for babies to grip easily. If you are offering spherical foods such as grapes or strawberries, cut them lengthwise into quarters to prevent choking.
Prepare about three or four types of food for your baby to explore. Lay the food on the high chair tray or on a placemat and do not intervene in the process by holding the food to your baby’s mouth.
Don’t fret if your baby rejects the food or worry if he or she is not eating much. Milk should still be the main source of nutrients until they turn one year old. As such, it is more for them to explore the foods and be introduced to solid food.
Baby Led Weaning strengthens fine motor coordination by learning how to grasp food and put it into their mouths.
A huge concern for parents when deciding to embark on BLW is that their babies will choke and whether their babies are able to chew food without teeth. To counter this, ensure that you take note of the choking hazards and do not attempt BLW if your baby is not physiologically ready for it.
It may be frightening if your baby gags, but this is entirely normal. When food travels to the back of the throat, a gag reflex occurs and the baby will try to force the food out. It is important to stay calm and not panic when a baby is gagging as it is a normal process.
The important thing is to look out for choking. If a baby is choking, he or she will be unable to breathe, cry, cough or make any noise. Thus, it is essential that the main caregiver is aware of basic infant first aid techniques for choking.
Enjoy the baby led weaning journey with your baby!
A mummy of 2 baby-led weaning babies
Let us know what you think about BLW, or if you’ve attempted it with your child before in the comments!
Nothing quite beats a comforting bowl of hot nutritious soup to end the day.
For the Chinese, soups are often a part of their daily meals. Bowls of nutritious goodness are served up over generations and they make a delicious dish on its own, or as a perfect complement to rice and dishes.
Healthy broths are easy to prepare, and they pack a punch of flavour and taste to tease the palates. Families can easily enjoy soups by cooking them over the stove, or simply putting the ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning, and return home to soup that has been simmered for hours.
Using readily available ingredients, we share 3 popular Chinese soup recipes to delight soup lovers, while nourishing your family’s health. For children under one, some parents prefer to serve soups sans salt, so salt to taste is optional. Feel free to substitute pork with chicken according to your family’s preference. Bowls up and enjoy!
Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup Recipe
2 litres water
300g pork ribs, or, chicken bones and/or breast
250g lotus root, peeled and sliced
5 red dates, washed and slit
2 honey dates, washed and slit
1 can braised peanuts, or peanuts from the dried goods section (optional, or if child has peanut allergy)
Dried scallops (optional, or if child has seafood allergy)
Salt to taste
Clean pork ribs and blanch in boiling water to remove scum. Remove and set aside.
In a pot, add water, honey dates, red dates, lotus root, blanched pork ribs and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce flame to low fire and simmer for about 1.5 – 2 hours.
Add peanuts and salt, and serve.
Lotus roots are loaded with essential minerals such as iron, fibre, Vitamin B and Vitamin C. They are believed to improve immunity and digestion, helps in constipation and boosts energy levels.
Spinach Egg Drop Soup Recipe
2 litres water
50g ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
200g baby spinach
3 well beaten eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1tbsp wolfberries (optional)
Salt to taste
Bring water to boil and add ikan bilis to prepare broth. Boil and simmer for 30-45mins, and remove ikan bilis.
Add spinach, garlic and wolfberries and cook until the spinach begins to wilt.
Stir the mixture and allow broth to swirl, then carefully pour in the eggs, while stirring the broth. The eggs will cook upon contact with the broth and create ribbons. Season to taste with salt, if necessary.
Ikan bilis are high in calcium and proteins which are needed for strong bones, teeth and healthy cellular functions. These little fish also boost iron and healthy polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 fatty acids) which are essential for healthy red blood cells, as well as brain and eye development. In addition to iron and proteins, Popeye’s favourite spinach is packed with niacin, zinc and Vitamins A, C, E and K, important nutrients to support heart health and promote healthy skin and hair.
Corn Carrot Potato Soup Recipe
250 grams pork ribs, or, chicken bones and/or breast
2 litres water
2 corn cobs, cut to chunks
2-3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut to chunks
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut to chunks
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1 tomato, sliced to wedges
4 cloves garlic
Salt, to taste
Clean pork ribs and blanch in boiling water to remove scum. Remove and set aside.
In a pot, add water and all ingredients (except salt) and bring to boil. Once boiling, simmer over low fire for another 40-50 mins. Season to taste with salt.
Corn, carrots, potatoes, celery and tomatoes are brimming with flavonoids, antioxidants, and are excellent sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium and fibre. They help to protect our body from infections, support our nervous system and keep our metabolism healthy.
These homemade Chinese soup recipes are favourites with many families for their quick and easy preparation methods, and hearty nutritional benefits especially for children. Soups are also a brilliant way of meeting the day’s fluid intake as we raise healthy, world-ready children by eating well.
What are some of your family’s favourite soups? Do share them too!
When your baby is ready for solids, it helps to think about what food to offer, and how to prepare nutritious meals. We understand that embarking on their food journey can be a mind-boggling one, so here is a handy guide to starting your baby on solids.
Children are very much like adults. They develop preferences and may choose to eat only certain foods at different stages. Therefore, parents would have to understand what their likes and dislikes are, consider how to “promote” healthier ingredients, and possibly introduce new foods into their diet to ensure children obtain adequate nutrition needed for healthy development.
#1: Offer more home-cooked meals
Whipping up homecooked meals lets you decide what goes into your dishes, and what not to add. Homecooked meals allow families to enjoy healthier meals with less oil, salt, and ingredients that are processed or are high in saturated fats. Food from outside usually contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), are deep fried, or use unhealthy oils to prepare, which may increase the risk of diseases in future.
Try offering more homecooked meals where possible.
#2: Choose fresh and healthy ingredients when shopping for grocery
When grocery shopping, point out to your children how fresh ingredients can offer plenty of nutrients that contribute to their health and growth. Younger kids will enjoy the sights and sounds at the supermarket or wet market, and are exposed to learning how to pick fresh ingredients to put a nutritional dish together. A sensorial learning experience for sure!
#3: Go with healthier cooking methods
Did you know that deep frying destroys more nutrients than steaming?
Health experts recommend boiling, steaming or blanching vegetables to minimise nutrient loss. Foods with beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein are best lightly cooked to enhance absorption of antioxidants by the body, and these are commonly found in tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and broccoli. In fact, contrary to belief, healthier cooking methods can conjure up delectable flavours too. Offer a variety of cooking methods to encourage exploration of textures and tastes for the palates.
#4: Educate children with the importance of healthy eating habits
Storybooks are engaging ways to share with young children why healthy eating is a positive approach to living well. The right knowledge empowers them to make the right food choices even through adulthood so a little goes a long way. Since our eating habits contribute to overall health and wellbeing, some parents take to showing their children the consequences of having unhealthy eating habits such as frequent consumption of fizzy drinks, and candies. A little visual sharing might just work for your kids too!
#5: Lead by example
Our children learn by watching our actions, behaviour and listening to what we say. When it comes to encouraging healthy eating habits, children are also observing if we walk the talk as parents. The food we eat and the choice of snacks we go for show our kids if we align our beliefs and actions. Take your pick from healthy snacks and a balanced diet – after all, they offer a multitude of benefits too!
#6: Reduce temptations of unhealthy food
While cutting out unhealthy food from our diets completely is not possible, eating in moderation helps. Processed food such as sausages, ice cream and candies are often associated with happy moments like parties and celebrations. This points to the psychological concept of Paired Associative Learning, where positive memories are associated with certain foods which are usually the less healthy ones.
#7: Avoid using junk food as rewards
Ditto the above point, and why putting junk food on that special pedestal makes children yearn for them even more. Using junk food or unhealthy snacks as a reinforcement to reward good behaviour is going to do more harm than good in the long run for your kids. But avoiding them totally is not feasible since other children will be eating them, and possibly taunting them. Hence, #4 comes peppered with patience, parents!
#8: Help them understand when they have eaten enough – Learn to self-regulate
Children can learn to self-regulate when they are full, and stop when they wish. That allows them to be more aware of their bodies and be attuned with their actions and how they feel.
#9: Promote small portions of healthy snacks and treats
Is your child not a fan of mum-approved snacks and treats? Let your child take baby steps towards appreciating and enjoying healthy snacks for kids. Swap chocolate bars for granola bars. Instead of deep fried chicken wings, how about using the air fryer to make your own? Smarter choices can help your child realise that healthy food can be equally yummy too!
#10: Involve your children
Getting your children involved in making healthy eating a part of your family is a vital step. When kids are part of the decision-making process, or have their views heard, they feel part of the team and not forced to eat well because daddy or mummy instructed. Start with grocery shopping together as a family, and your children will appreciate the effort of picking out fresh ingredients all in a bid to cook up delicious and nutritious meals. During food preparation, toddlers can help crack eggs or use a child-friendly knife to cut vegetables. These are life skills your children are exposed too while having fun in the kitchen with mummy and daddy!
#11: Eat together as a family
Lastly, remember to enjoy wholesome meals together as a family. Eating is a social activity which allows adults and children to share about their day, and communicate with each other in a relaxed manner. After all, hearty and healthy meals are best shared as a family, don’t you think?
Embracing healthy eating habits are some ways to ensure better health and wellness for our children and loved ones. With healthier diets and a positive lifestyle, we are showing our children that taking care of our bodies is important. After all, raising world-ready children is a journey, and we want to be there to experience life together!
Are you finding it difficult to cultivate healthy eating habits in your children? Share with us what your challenges are!