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Friday, 24 October 2014

Correcting Eating Disorders in Children

It could be a big problem getting kids to eat right; it is also very difficult at times trying to dissuade your kids from sticking to a particular kind of diet that they love. Naturally it may seem that children are usually wont to eat sweet foods all of the time. But I dare say this is just one of those myths about children and foods.

Sad news too is the fact that children willingly will not just go out of their way to eat or demand for fruits. Thus you could almost say to yourself – ‘I can just count the types of foods my kids love to eat, such as white bread, rice, eggs, spaghetti, macaroni, meat pie, burger, noodles’. Once the fruits are brought in, it is a no go area, they look the other way. Don’t even bother with salad. But you are to blame for all of these; it is the way you have brought them up. 

Are you surprised that the kids readily jump at anything sweet. Oh! The sugary foods are just their favourites. The taste buds are like domestic animals – you can train and tame them from day one. Every child loves sugary drinks, ice cream, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, biscuits, sweets and so on. You were the one who thought that ‘Junior’ would not, or is not yet ready for gari or eba with ugu soup, amala and ewedu soup, fufu, fish and all the fruits that lie around.
You deprived your kid of the opportunity to start a new habit early in life thereby denying him the benefits of growing up enjoying the great advantages deposited in natural foods and home cooking.

Solution is in making sure that the kids are grounded early in life, that is - you laying the foundation of getting them oriented in sensible nutritious eating habit. And so, it is not also true that babies will only love to eat bland foods, but they will gladly gobble up all manner of mixed flavours you present to them. The secret is simply by starting them off on wholesome feeding very early on in life. Likewise, babies who are started off from the onset on sugary mixed foods will certainly grow up preferring sweet foods, while babies who were fed on a variety of diet such as fruits, vegetables, whole cereals, flavours and textures, will grow up enjoying a more varied diet.

Babies usually will take more time to process foods and varieties of them and so when he turns his head away, it does not necessarily mean he does not like the food. He needs time to familiarise with the (new) introduction. But just keep insisting, it will only take him some time, and he will eventually come to accept it.

Therefore for the needed optimum health and nourishment, here is a list of what your babies need to be eating: Introduce to them while they are still tender the varieties – foods that are naturally sweet, sour, and bitter. Feed them with a good range of fruits and vegetables:

Fibre rich foods: These describes whole foods and grains or cereals including whole wheat bread and meals, oats, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cassava, Ofada rice, brown rice, yam, etc. Also in this category will include a whole lot of fruits and vegetables you can select from.

Calcium rich foods: This is very vital and highly required for the development of strong bones and teeth in the children. Some of the basic foods with this essential mineral are – cheese, yoghourt, green leafy vegetables, milk, sardines, grains, soya beans, etc.

Iron and Zinc rich foods: These important minerals are required for healthy blood building, strength and mental development and alertness of the growing child. Some good examples of foods containing iron and zinc include – breakfast cereals, green leafy vegetables, legumes, poultry, beef, dairy products, etc. 

Water: Children should be encouraged to drink water and love it instead of fruit juices which children usually ‘prefer’.  Give them instead fresh fruits in addition to water, and in place of the fruit juices.

In addition, you should make it a point of duty to reduce or eliminate the frequency of fried foods, and snacks of refined flour from their diet. The children's (school) launch pack should consist of these items we have just resolved.

By Morgan Nwanguma

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