When my child started to eat solid foods, I did my best to give him proper nutrition. I introduce him to eat various nutritious foods such as egg, rice, beef, fruits, vegetables, and other indigenous foods. Even though he is eating all kinds of food he is not fat. I am not worried because he is eating nutritious foods not until he reached the age of four. Before he turned four, I did several ways for his weight gain and I am glad that it helps. Now I am facing another challenge and that is to feed him with healthy foods over the unhealthy foods. This is what you called the “Diet Shift” phase.
The “Diet Shift” phase is a phase that every child between four to seven years old goes through, when he develops a preference for unhealthy food and therefore, becomes at-risk of important nutrients he needs for proper growth and development. This is the phase when I noticed that my child began to be choosy with the foods that we offer to him. Before he would ask for green apple and orange but now he would ask for potato chips and some junk foods that he saw on T.V. commercials or advertisements. When eating meat, he prefers to eat Fried Chicken and Fried fish but not the meat in soupy vegetables.
Because of these unhealthy eating habits, I find different ways to overcome the “Diet Shift” Phase. As a mom it is very important that we do the first moves for our children to be healthy. What I did is to experiment using different ways then I gather what truly works for him. Let me share my experience with how I battle the challenge in feeding my child with healthy foods over unhealthy foods.
Tips to Overcome “Diet Shift” Phase in Children
- Set eating habits. I tell my child that we need to eat on time with healthy foods to nourish our body to be strong and be energized in studying, playing, singing, dancing, etc.
- Make meals exciting and surprising. Even you are preparing a regular meal; add something to make it special or extraordinary. For example if the meal has vegetables, put an art to the slice and cuts of the veggies. Tell him real story about popular people who eats nutritious foods in your meal like Manny Pacquio. He eats rice with Malunggay that is why he a strong puncher and a great boxer.
- Show a picture of malnourished children and healthy children then tell the truth about the difference. First, I ask him who looks good in the picture then he will point to the healthy children. I explained to my child that if he did not eat nutritious food he will look like a malnourished child who cannot move actively to play and cries because of stomached. Eating nutritious foods will make him feel good and happy.
- Set a snack time and prepare a healthy drink. Since I am drinking Malunggay tea with my four-year old son, we call it a tea time at around 3PM. He loves the taste of the Malunggay tea that I prepare. I added two tablespoon of sugar and two calamansi in three cups of water with Malunggay tea. We eat biscuits or bread while drinking the tea.
- Let your child help you in preparing meals or drinks. Children are curious on how we prepare meals. Letting them know the basics of how we prepare meals by making them little helpers. It will encourage them to value the food by eating what you have prepared.
- Tell him the good effects of eating nutritious foods.
- Eat together and show your child that you are eating nutritious foods too.
- Prepare fruit juice or shakes and show them how you make it. They are delighted with the preparation of fruit juice or shakes.
- Offer the child a glass of milk two times a day. This will surely help to supplement a growing child’s nutrition.
- For children fond of playing gadget like tab; install an App about cooking, baking, and preparing foods. It will encourage him to eat healthy foods like baked foods such as cookies, cupcakes and other meals.
When we battle the “Diet Shift” phase, children will grow up strong and healthy. There is a great potential for healthy children to be achievers. We worry less if our children are healthy. Our family can save big budget because they are not prone to sickness. Conclusively, a healthy child makes a happy family.
How about you? Please share with us how you battle “Diet Shift” phase in your children?