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How do you make your child eat a healthy meal?

By Neelanjana Singh
April 13, 2015 12:52 IST
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The most difficult question of our generation, finally answered!

How do you get your child to eat right? Our Kid Eats Everything by Neelanjana Singh tells you just that!

And we bring this excerpt from the book for you:

The perfect meal is much more than just the food on the plate.

What you do before and after the meal is what completes it and makes it wholesome.

Here are practical recommendations to help you and your child get the best from food.

1. Plan the meal

When working out meal menus, keep in mind the three principles of good eating practices, which are adequacy (enough to eat), variety (plenty of colours and textures) and balance (cover all food groups in the day for a balance of nutrients).

2. Shop smart

Be price- and nutrient-wise.

Many inexpensive foods can be more nutrient dense than the expensive ones.

3. Storage

There are many different ways to store both raw and cooked foods so as to prevent spoilage and preserve and enhance nutrient worth.

4. Cookware/serving material

Choose china, steel and glass over plastics for serving and cooking.

5. Enhance the nutrients

There are many ways to enhance the nutritive value of foods.

Some processes are fermentation, sprouting, adding seeds to dough and batter, and so on.

6. Minimise losses

Don't overcook, as it causes nutrient loss.

Fruit seeds and peels have immense nutritional worth. Leaves such as bay leaves and curry leaves are both edible and very valuable.

So think before you discard seeds, peels and leaves.

7. Best combinations of food groups

Certain pairings of foods such as a cereal with a pulse are not just tasty but also complement each other in terms of the nutrients that they offer.

Another worthy combination is iron and Vitamin-C-rich foods.

8. Perfect the eye for portion sizes

We tend to either overdo or underestimate portion sizes for children.

An appropriate understanding of portion size can impact health for life.

9. Enjoy textures and different courses of the meal

Finger foods are a good way to teach children about textures.

It also helps them develop good motor skills.

Allow your child to eat himself/herself, as this promotes a greater sense of satisfaction and satiety in him/her.

It is also a good strategy to begin the meal with the least-liked food and end with the favourites.

10 Be realistic

Stay practical.

Small mediated changes go a long way -- quit the zero or hundred approach.

Healthy eating is more than just measuring food and counting calories.

> More Health features here

> More excerpts from our Books section here

Excerpted from Our Kid Eats Everything by Neelanjana Singh, Rs 350, with the permission of the publishers, Hatchette India.

Photograph (used for representational purposes only): Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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