The secret to good health is a balanced diet. Every meal should contain adequate amounts of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. We need carbohydrates and fats for energy, proteins for growth, and micronutrients - vitamins and minerals - for normal and healthy functioning of the body.
Our body needs 0.8 gm/ kg body weight protein. However, since toddlers are in the most important phase of growth, they need more proteins in their diet. A three to four year old kid needs roughly 20 gms of proteins per day. This is tough to fulfill especially if your kid is a vegetarian. Nutrition at this early stage is crucial, as it forms an important part of your kids’ health and development.
Like every mother, my concern too, is that my four year old daughter is a fussy eater. She was born underweight and she has still been lagging behind because of her picky eating habits. I am a well-informed mom, but I still feel helpless when it comes to my daughter’s health and nutrition. The only food she can be fed without a hue and cry is white rice, but sadly, she will not eat it if I try mixing it with dal or other nutritious foods. So my daughter eats a highly unbalanced diet that is rich in just carbohydrates.
I find it almost impossible to feed her anything healthy and protein rich like soya bean or channa. Being a vegetarian, I can't feed her chicken or fish either. But she does seem to be tempted by the unhealthy food from restaurants, be it noodles, burgers or french fries.
What I have noticed is a common pattern in her food preferences. She was fond of the dips and the juicy mayonnaise filling of burgers. I discovered that she loved mayonnaise and decided to exploit this to my advantage, so that I could somehow trick her into eating some healthy homemade food. After all, a mom wants healthy food for her kid, and a child wants tasty food, so why not try making healthy food taste great?
I scoured the market for healthy mayonnaise, as I only wanted a mayonnaise that didn't contain chemicals or unhealthy fats. I came across Nutralite mayo, which I found to be the perfect accompaniment to my daughter’s meals. Not only is it fortified with Vitamin A, D and E but it is also available in three variants: veg, achari and cheesy garlic. My daughter loved the classic veg variant. She started to be more ready to eat healthy foods when I served them with her favourite mayo on the side. It became simpler for me!
I dished up numerous snacks at home - which were healthier versions of the ones which she loved and served them with dollops of Nutralite mayo! I could easily interest her with the food, and she sometimes even asked for some more!
These are some of the dishes that are fool proof and of course healthy:
French toast: For breakfast, I dip pieces of whole wheat bread in beaten egg and fry them in a pan. Serve them with a side of Nutralite mayo, and you have a power-packed and tasty breakfast with carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. Now I have a solution that starts right in the morning.
Besan-stuffed Puri: My daughter loves having puris for dinner but whenever I try to include besan or dal in the dough for proteins, she rejects them. So I tried serving her these puris with Nutralite mayo. She paid no attention to the besan, and I got her to eat dinner with minimal fuss.
For snacks, I give her homemade french fries with mayo as a dip and she is thrilled. I also give her onion pakoras sometimes. I use some Nutralite mayo while making her pasta and she happily devours it. Just one serving of Nutralite mayo helps me fulfil 30% of her daily requirements of Vitamins A, D and E.
Although she is still far from having an ideal diet, I am still happy that now there is more variety in the food she eats, and more importantly, she is not having unhealthy food from outside!
What are your tricks for feeding your toddler? Have you tried this simple and healthy food swap yet?