Friday, December 19, 2014

Encourage Your Little One to Eat

I am blessed because I don’t have any problems feeding my child. He eats almost anything. He especially loves my cooking. He is also fond of eating out so we make it a point to dine out as a family at least once a week. We are on a tight budget but for me, food is important. Building relationships is important and eating out, bonding with my family is something that I cherish every single time it happens. Plus, seeing my son’s happy face while he gobbles up food is priceless.  So, I make room for it in our budget.

For the rest of the days that we are at home, I encourage snacking. Some parents don’t like the idea of snacking because it curbs their child’s appetite come meal times. But I believe that kids need snacks so that they can have the energy to get through their busy day. My son plays a lot and has lots of different activities all through the day so he really needs fuel.

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When I still didn’t know my son’s preferences, I would give him several things to choose from. For example, in this plate, there are 2 small cups of gelatin, a cup of Mandarin oranges and some grilled cheese stix. I know for sure that my son loves grilled cheese. He liked the gelatin at first but then after a few more tries, he decided he didn’t like it. The same thing happened with the Mandarin oranges. He loved them when he was 7 months old but he decided that he didn’t like them anymore when he turned 1.

Until now, I like doing this strategy when feeding him. I discover the foods that he likes so I make a mental note of them. Here are a few more tips to encourage your little one to eat.

TIPS
1. Serve him at least 3 food choices. Let him decide which ones he likes. Don’t interfere. At first you’d think my son wouldn’t eat one food but in the middle of the meal, he would try that new food. Sometimes he would spit it out but before he finishes eating, he will try it again to see if he might like it.
2. Encourage him to try something new by doing the same thing. When there’s new food, I show my son that I’m eating it and tell him how delicious it is. Of course, it might not be delicious for him but this act alone makes him want to try it too.

3. Make meal times fun. Some parents and experts disagree with distractions. I have no problems with it. I serve his food on a fun plate. He likes the divisions. Sometimes he puts one food in another part and move them around. I don’t give him noisy toys during meal times but he can hold his favorite cars. Sometimes the TV is on, not for him but for us and if it catches his attention, that’s the time I strike. Sneaky… He would open his mouth when the spoon is in front of it all while watching TV.

4. Do not be discouraged. Keep trying. When my son says no to food once, I try again for another 9x. That’s because kids don’t really know what they want. It takes some time for them to decide. My son does not like oranges but he likes kiat-kiat. Go figure.

5. Be okay with it. If my son decides that he only wants to eat 2 bites or 3 tablespoons then it’s okay with me. Children have an innate sense of knowing how much fuel they need for the day. Yes, the day. Somehow, as they grow older, they lose this ability because of outside factors such as parents telling them to finish their food or peer pressure,  etc. So, I’m okay with it. He will ask me if he needs more food anyway. On the other hand, I don’t stop feeding him until he says stop. If he does this, I get ready for a crazy day because I know he has a few things planned. 

So that’s it! I hope these tips have encouraged you to look forward to meal times. Feel free to pin the photo on your Pinterest board for future reference.

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