Children

12 tips to stimulate the appetite of our children

After weaning, between 1 and 3 years of age, the diet of our children changes considerably. At the table, in fact, the children begin to behave slowly “like adults”: baby food becomes a distant memory, you eat alone and taste a bit of everything.

Meals should be, as a rule, 5 per day: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, snack and dinner, totaling about 1200-1400 calories.

In preparing meals, we mothers should seek the right balance between what the child would like to eat and what we would like them to eat, while ensuring a healthy, varied and balanced diet.

I therefore propose some practical tips to stimulate the appetite of your little ones and make meals pleasant moments.

12 tips to feel good at the table

  1. Make small pieces that are not too difficult to chew, especially when your children are under the age of two.
  2. If you propose a new food and your child rejects it, do not insist and pretend nothing. After a few days try to propose it again. According to a study carried out by the Nestlé Foundation, it takes an average of 5 attempts before a child accepts a new food.
  3. Never put stress on children to make them eat: the meal must be a serene moment.
  4. Do not force children to use cutlery until they are very young. Explain to them how to use them but do not set bon ton as a primary goal: growing up, each child improves motor skills and then spontaneously abandons his hands to move on to cutlery.
  5. Make the dishes pleasing to the eye, decorating them and making them nice. For example, you can form the eyes with cherry tomatoes cut in half and the mouth with a piece of cheese to create a nice smiley.
  6. If your children do not want to know about vegetables, blend them, make them creamy and use them to season pasta, meat or fish.
  7. Involve your children in purchases, explaining the colors, the origin, the use. Make them smell and, once purchased, let them touch them.
  8. After two years of age, you can get help from your children in the kitchen, for the preparation of simple and fun recipes.
  9. If your children eat too much or too little but the growth is regular and there are no weight problems, you have no reason to worry. Physical activity during the day and metabolism affect daily calorie needs.
  10. If your children claim that a food is not good, ask why. Let them explain in more words what’s wrong: it’s too sweet, it’s too bitter, it’s too round… It doesn’t matter if the answer really makes sense, but it is good that they learn to express their feelings at the table. I recommend you do not be pressing and do not put stress on children for this.
  11. You eat at the table and without games in your hands: never in front of the television, on the sofa or standing. It is important that children are focused on nutrition and are not distracted by anything else.
  12. We eat all together. It is good to learn conviviality from an early age and, ideally, children should eat together with mom and dad. During meals we chat and tell each other what happened during the day or what we will do the next day.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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