Much has been written in recent years about forbidden foods for children. But parents do not understand how to protect their children from them. The famous German gives excellent and functional advice the diabetologist and nutritionist Matthias Riedl.
We have already written that he urged parents not to give them any sugar until the age of 3: “I must say firmly: children do not need sugar, they do not need sugar, they do not need sugar!” he said in an interview with Focus magazine. It is the largest weekly newspaper in Germany and is read by everyone.
Children’s fear of anything new
It is no secret that children sometimes eat a very limited number of foods. The most popular are pasta, potatoes, sausages. And, of course, all kinds of sweets. Eating healthy vegetables and fruits is often not possible. They seem to be afraid of new food. What does Dr. Riedl advise in such cases?
“Once you start feeding your baby, I suggest adding at least three new foods to your baby’s menu each week,” says Matthias Riedl. Ideally, there could be more. Well, to convince the child that this new product is delicious, you can use these little tricks:
1. Consistently introduce your child to vegetables and other healthy foods.
Goods such as sweet peppers, leafy salads, whole grain breads and legumes should be present in the child’s environment both naturally and in toys. Thanks to this, they will become part of the cultural space. Instead of sweets and cookies, as many do, it is better to put a plate of fruits and vegetables in a prominent place. And during each meal, have a plate of chopped vegetables on the table. And it does not matter if the child tastes cherry tomatoes alone or only dad and mom will party. The main thing is that the child will see it and one day he will want to try something like his parents. The habit of healthy eating will develop through the desire to imitate and learn new things.
Children are not young adults
2. Add new things to familiar foods.
Does your child like pasta with tomato sauce? Add a little basil or oregano. Does he ask for mashed potatoes every day? Add to this first carrot puree and then chopped spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. Does the child want rice porridge? Try to make it with the healthiest brown rice.
Remember: all children love bright colors. And the brighter the better. If you garnish mashed potatoes with green spinach and add beautiful beetroot puree, your child will appreciate it.
3. Offer new products in a playful way.
Children are not young adults who can be persuaded by reasonable arguments. Unlike adults, they are almost always guided by basic needs. And this is for you to be full and enjoy. The food fills you up and the game makes you happy. Therefore, offer useful products in a playful way.
For example, draw a funny face on a vegetable puree sandwich, cherry tomatoes make great eyes on scrambled eggs and use a cookie cutter to cut hearts out of a vegetable casserole. But it is not necessary to emphasize that such dishes are also useful. Studies show that this increases a child’s chances of refusing edible toys.
The whole world revolves around a child
4. Use the child’s egocentrism.
Use the reflex that is inherent in all children – “this is mine!”. In the first years of life, children unconsciously consider that they see themselves as their own. Psychologists call it egocentrism: the child feels that he is the center of the world.
How does it work? For example, place a piece of red pepper next to your child’s plate. Like sandbox games, he will consider it part of his world. Take this pepper as if you want to eat it. Most likely, the baby will try to get it away from you.
5. Be patient.
Parents need to understand that they are doing something very important – the whole life of the child depends on it, whether he will acquire healthy habits or ruin his life to work in a pharmacy. Be patient, do not despair if something does not work right away and the child does not appreciate your efforts. This is temporary, it will definitely work.
Let the child not see the evil in the house
6. Unhealthy foods should not be available.
Dr. Riedl applies this advice mainly to sugar and sweets. They just do not need a child under 3 years old and they always hurt him. If he grows up indifferent to the sweet taste, this will be the most useful gift for him in life. The doctor recalls that, first, there were not so many sweet foods and so much sugar in the diet before, and second, it was expensive and inaccessible until the 20th century. The need for all of this inspires product manufacturers to succeed in their business. Even sweet fruits like bananas were not so sweet – they were made that way by breeders.
As an example, he mentions the South American tribe of the Tsimane Indians. They live isolated in Bolivia and eat only local products. There is nothing sweeter than local bananas in their diet. At the age of 80-90 they have healthy blood vessels, heart and brain. This can be trusted. For more than 20 years, the breed has been monitored by an international team of doctors, who test Indians using state-of-the-art diagnostic methods. They do not have typical age-related diseases. Do you want such health for your children?