It’s so easy to worry that little ones aren’t getting enough of the good stuff. Then another worry is are they getting too much. It can be crazy stressful and intimidating when you see what other children are getting to eat. Often so many parents land in a confusing world of having no idea if they are doing the right thing.
After working with children for almost seven years, I can easily say that I have came a long way. If you happen to be a worried parent, not quite sure if your child is getting enough of the food they need, then you are in the right place.
First off, you have to know that you are not alone! Millions of parents have this worry and more often than not, what their children are eating is a great amount which I’m sure is the same for your case too.
If you would like a little extra advice, training and support from a professional about your child and food then please do stick around.
Just before I get into it, I wrote a book over lockdown which I would just love for more families to have! Please check it out here!
Food and when to worry
I thought I would start off with the most critical side of food as I feel it’s the most important part of keep note. It’s really essential that we know when it is the right time to worry and begin with an action plan.
Thing’s like fevers, coughs and colds may cause a child to eat less, so this can explain any weight loss and I would definitely take a trip to the doctors. Refusing to eat or drink and complaining of a sore mouth may indicate a dental problem and it may be time to get that checked out.
A good rule of thumb is that your child should always stay in the rough weight percentile that they have always been in. If there is a rapid decline or incline over a period of time then this is also a time to visit your doctor.
Make sure you keep a record of exercise, food intake, fluids, any recent illnesses, any aches, pains and sleeping habits.
Recording all this only makes it easier for your doctor to pinpoint what is going on.
Is my child eating enough?
Often before children start running (and trust me when they can run they do not stop) and are still at an age where they are wobbly, you’ll find that they are full of cute chubby rolls. Health inspectors may often tell you that they are too heavy but honestly this is usually because they are not moving a lot yet. You will most often see that once they start to move more and more, all those delicious wee rolls start falling off.
I’m really pretty relaxed when feeding children. Even as babies they will let you know if they are hungry. My rule is that if they seam hungrier than usual, this is most likely a growth spurt and they need more intake of energy so offer extra nutritious snacks along the day.
Always use your gut with your child. If they are happy and growing at a good rate then they are probably getting enough food. It will be obvious to you if they need more, you are doing a great job!
How to get my child to eat a healthy diet
Okay so you bought chocolate for the first time let your little one have a taste. The world is suddenly brighter and rainbows appear in your child’s eyes. This is a sugary heaven!
Now once they have had the good stuff, they don’t seam to want the fun green food anymore. Nothing will compare!
Does this sound familiar?
This happens a lot with toddlers and children. Sometimes they will do a food protest and reject other foods until they get the one they want. Don’t worry this will pass! They just want the sweet chocolate (or whatever is your child’s thing) back in their lives for good.
Here there is no magic trick, it’s just simple. Limit the exposure to this food. Don’t buy it so it’s not an option when you are home.
Tell your child that this is a treat food and something we don’t have all the time.
They will protest but this is just something that you have to go through to keep their bodies and teeth healthy.
There is no such thing as perfection and it’s totally okay to whip up easy dinners. It’s all about exposure to foods. Babies and children are constantly changing. Their appetite varies along the way and they will often pick one food that they are really into while growing up.
Can you think of that one food that you know your child will always take?
For a lot of the children I have looked after this has been pasta (the plainer the better), yoghurts, breadsticks and butter too which is a weird one.
It’s really difficult when they become fussy to ensure that they are getting enough of the good stuff.
So here are a few ideas to help:
- Blend up a tone of veggies in a super smooth sauce and put over rice or pasta
- Try smoothies to get lots of fruit in their body
- If they have a snack, they have to have a piece of fruit of their choice with it
- Food exposure. You have to be prepared that you may waste some food here but make sure your child always has the option on their plate to eat foods they wouldn’t normally. You never know!
- Have them involved in the cooking process. Children are way more likely to eat food when they have helped.
- Worried about water intake? Buy fruits like Melons, watermelons and oranges to keep them topped up.
- Make soup with lots of vegetables.
They may not gobble down lots of the good food, but even a spoonful or two is still something which is adding extra nutrients into their body.
I’ve been in so many households and kitchens. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. This is why I want to share with you what I think are the best toddler and children’s plates on the market.
<a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00I0VUMBI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B00I0VUMBI&linkCode=as2&tag=maryanne0c-21&linkId=e5af18418978ae93bdc116f495641a80">Fred DINNER WINNER Kids' Dinner Tray – Original</a>This one is called dinner winner
Food should be without pressure and full of fun. This is why I think this plate is super good as it encourages children to relax and eat as much of their food as they can.
<a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NF4XVX6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B07NF4XVX6&linkCode=as2&tag=maryanne0c-21&linkId=28cc1662443f7f382749f72fcbc0343f">Munchkin Stay Put Divided Suction Plates, Pink/Purple</a>Suction plates
If you have a wee one that is particularly messy then suction plates are a great go to. Don’t get me wrong, creating mess is great fun, the aftermath although can look like a twister ran through the house.
<a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07MS15L5P/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B07MS15L5P&linkCode=as2&tag=maryanne0c-21&linkId=b3ae3692ba3d59ac26adc7385794fe80">Qshare Silicone Divided Baby Plate with Suction, Non Slip Child Feeding Placemat, Fit for High Chair, BPA-Free Dishwasher & Microwave Safe Portable Travel Feeding Tray, Best Baby Gift 24 * 17 * 3cm</a>BPA free plates
BPA is an industrial chemical which is found in certain plastics, it is often found in plastic containers and water bottles. It can affect children’s health as well as their behaviour, so this plate is a great go to, plus its fun!
<a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00IK0184O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B00IK0184O&linkCode=as2&tag=maryanne0c-21&linkId=08a646b30f8bbc306c6ff493992198c0">Petit Jour Paris – Plate Peter Rabbit – enjoy your very first meal!</a>Peter rabbit plate
I couldn’t not share a peter rabbit plate with you as I think it’s just so gosh darn pretty!
<a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07XY32HVX/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B07XY32HVX&linkCode=as2&tag=maryanne0c-21&linkId=9bab4c632d033d7eda10dc479fef9f72">Healthy Porcelain Children's Plate Small Plate Cute Bear Shape@Khaki</a>The plate going for £3,321…
Okay this one is just for fun but my eyes practically fell out my head!
Babies are expensive. Kids are expensive. Sometimes we just need a plate that costs £1.39.
<a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08QMG4NK2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B08QMG4NK2&linkCode=as2&tag=maryanne0c-21&linkId=c2cc3471fcef77ef43f995d1b9f5b1ca">YUEZPKF Beautiful 8pcs Wheat Straw Plates Lightweight Degradable Dinner Plates Dishes Unbreakable Tableware Fruit Salad Plate Dish (R.</a>Unbreakable plates
Not only are kids expensive but they are little makers of breakage. Stock up on unbreakable plates and have a party.
Relaxed dinner time
I thought I would finish off this article by giving you a few tips of how to keep dinner time relaxed. It’s really important that children have a eating environment which is calm and fun so that they can have a positive connection with food. So, how can we do this?
- Having soft music in the background
- Talking with family
- Don’t stare down your child while he is having a new food, this can feel very unnatural to them and forces a reaction.
- No double meals. They only have one choice for their dinner. Tough biscuits.
- Encouraging sitting and using cutlery. I tell my nanny kids that I need to see them sitting politely before I can give them any food or drinks.
- If they really don’t want to eat we don’t need to force it, but make sure treats are off the table.
- Having them ask if they can leave the table when they are done.
- Lots of praise and encouragement.
- Tell them if you notice a new food tried after dinner. ” Oh I noticed tonight that you tried your carrots, well done, I can’t wait to see you try lots of different food.”
Well, I hoped you liked my article and it gave you some reassurance that you are doing really well! Keeping little humans alive is my specialty and it’s lovely that I get to share my passion with you.
Until next time,
Nanny M x