One of the things that concerns us parents is when our children become picky eaters. I get questions related to feeding almost all the time as I know a lot really do struggle when it comes to this aspect of parenting, especially parents who are working and don’t have the luxury to be a hands-on to their children. My kids aren’t really ac picky eaters but I have to say they have their favourites. They like pasta and noodles more than rice and grains, vegetables and soups more than meat. While carrots, broccoli, potato, chayote, zucchini, papaya, banana, melon, apple, mango, orange, and grapes are staple vegetables & fruits at home. There are times though that when their favorite food isn’t available, we have to push the food that’s on the table, sometimes they like it, sometimes they don’t. Now that my kids are growing and are slowly developing their discriminating palette, (they prefer home-cooked, gourmet food more than fast food, which is a good thing) I know there will come a time that they will be picky when it comes to the food they eat.
Perfect timing as July is Nutrition Month, I was able to get an overview of how our children can be well-nourished through what they eat and drink. I was one of the lucky handful of bloggers who got to sit down with Dra. Florianne Feliza-Valdez, Pediatrician and Director of the Center for Patient and Partnership of The Medical City, for an intimate brunch hosted by Appebon Kid, to talk about the importance of having a well-nourished child.
A refreshingly fruity and healthy drink that I’ll try and concoct at home.
According to Dr. Valdez, being a picky eater is not about the child nor the food. It’s about the eating and feeding habits you’ve established with your child.
Two essential rules you must remember to establish good eating/feeding habits:
1. When your child hits 1 year old, do not make milk as his/her basic source of nutrition.
2. Regulate snack time. Don’t let your child snack two hours before a main meal.
We follow rule #1 with a breeze but rule #2 can be tricky. Since my children love eating, they’re heavy snackers. I let them eat whenever they want to that sometimes I forget it’s almost lunch or dinner time. This we have to try to manage so that we can establish good eating habits.
There are three aspects wherein we can attribute good nutrition to our children, they are the three Ns.
Nurture is as what I like to believe as one of the most natural cardinal rule of parenting. It simply means encouraging one’s growth and development. The energy we give to our children greatly impacts what energy they emit to us and to others. So this means invest in lots of cuddle and spend quality time with them. Nurturing also means providing and giving your child the best. This is most evident during our child’s first few months as we strive to give him/her the most natural & safest products that he can have.
Nature is sometimes synonymous with nurture. A positive energy leads to a positive environment. It is best that one should foster a loving environment in which a child is nurtured. The environment where you raise your child is as important as the energy you give him/her. Consider having conducive environment where you can freely nurture your child and provide the best care and utmost nourishment for him/her.
The other side of nature has something to do with heredity and genetics. While nurturing greatly helps in nourishing your child with the vitamins and minerals that he/she need to develop and grow, most physical attributes are caused by genetics. Don’t expect your child to be 5’10 in height when you’re at 5’0 and your husband at 5’4 as he/she has clearly inherited your dominant allele in terms of height.
Only an authoritative person like a nutritionist or a doctor can clearly discuss about nutrition and what it entails to our children’s overall well-being. To get complete nutrition for your child, make sure that he/she has a well-balanced meal. Proper meal portion should be followed to achieve a complete diet as what the food pyramid indicates.
Dr. Valdez advised us parents to form the habit of reading the label to be knowledgable on what we give our children. Keep in mind that Vitamin B, iron, iodine, calcium. ascorbic acid, and zinc are some of the vitamins and minerals our children need. Also, as what I mentioned, it is important to establish good eating habits. Modify the behaviour of eaters in the family to help your children get the nourishment they need. Start by sitting with your child even for just one meal time. For working parents, try to have dinner with your children, if not, breakfast. Avoid distractions as much as possible- no T.V., no gadgets and the like. Talk, enjoy and indulge eating with your family. Don’t make eating seem like a chore for you and your children as it is the opposite of what nurturing is all about. If you can, encourage baby-led weaning. Sure it’s going to be messy, but the experience your child gets when he/she feeds himself can lead to better eating habits.
A lot of parents have also expressed their concerns when it comes to giving supplements to their children, the most obvious questions would be when and what kind of supplements must they give. As what Dr. Valdez mentioned, if a child doesn’t have the complete nutrition he/she needs to have enough energy everyday and be a batang ganado, (a child with an appetite) then giving supplements is the way to go. Giving supplements is advisable only when there is deficiency (in vitamins and minerals) that cannot be compensated with food digestion, as well when one is recuperating from an illness.
If you aren’t sure that your child is getting enough nutrition, demand to have a nutritional assessment from his/her paediatrician. That way your doctor can properly determine what vitamins and minerals should be supplemented for your child to be completely nourished. Ask for your child’s Z scores, BMI and if uncertain, ask your doctor to run some tests (respiratory, allergy) to further gauge your child’s nutritional wellness.
One of the many supplements your child can take is Appebon Kid. It has appetite enhancers, Vitamin B complex (1, 6, 12), and iron. It’s a fruity syrup to help provide children with nutrients essential for energy and to help improve their appetite. Remember though that it is best to consult your child’s pediatrician for the right and suitable vitamin supplement. Don’t just do OTC (over the counter) consultation as it is still best to get valid prescriptions from your doctor.
I wasn’t with my kids during the intimate brunch, so I was excited to come home and let them do the activity I got them. Gabbie was thrilled as usual to start working on her activity book. When I told her that she also has to create a sort of mood board as to what makes her a happy & healthy child, along with her brother, she was more than willing to get started.
Because I know that Gabbie is ganado when it comes to arts & crafts, I let her do this fun activity all by herself. She did ask help from me to cut the pictures and papers though.
Lil’ Mr. GJG was equally excited to start working on his project too while Achi Gabbie finishes hers.
Here’s what my lil’ Ms. GJG created. When I asked her what her board was all about, she nonchalantly answered:
“I like drawing a lot and it makes me really happy when I draw our family. Look! It’s you, me, daddy, Juro and yaya out on a sunny day where there’s lots of trees, colourful clouds where we can see our house! Also, I colored and di ba I asked you to cut the food so I can paste it here? Because, I like drinking my milk, apple juice, eating carrots and broccoli, lots of noodles and siomai. Then I draw lots of hearts for you and Juro. I love my family!”
Awwww. My heart melts! I know I’m not 101% good when it comes to feeding my children healthy food all the time, but seeing how much energy and passion they have for the things they love validates all my efforts to give them the best when it comes to nurturing and nourishing them.
Truly I deserve this lovely bouquet of flowers for being partly responsible for my children to achieve what will make them happy and complete. More than milestones and skills they’ve achieved overtime, I am proud to say that they are happily adjusted kids and they are kids who are ganado sa buhay (appetite for life).
Thank you so much Dr. Valdez and Appebon Kid for the insightful brunch that you hosted. I have learned a lot and I hope I was able to share them so that you Mommies and Daddies can also have a child that’s batang ganado. 🙂