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FIVE TODDLER STEPS FOR TRYING NEW FOOD
1 Start with very small amounts on the plate to create realistic goals.
2 Limit to 3 different types of veg, preferably with at least one that you know they will eat.
3 Enjoy the meal with them.
4 Give your toddler time, at least 20 minutes. Perhaps try the mindful eating exercise below.
5 Give your toddler praise for whatever they have eaten and explain to them how it will make them healthy and strong. (Note that for some of the fussiest eaters even just a lick of a new food can be a big step forward.)
MINDFUL EATING EXERCISE
Place a few different kinds of foods in front of your toddler and ask them the following questions-
what colours and shapes do you see?
does your food make a sound?
is it smooth, bumpy or rough?
what does your food smell like?
have them put the food on their tongue but don’t let them chew it just yet.
How does it feel in your mouth? Do you taste anything yet? Does the flavour change, when you chew? How many different flavours are there?
COULD THERE BE MORE TO IT?
It could be that a nutritional deficiency is the reason that your little one does not want to eat. Low levels of zinc, B12 and/or iron can be associated with a decreased appetite. If you have tried the strategies above and are concerned, talk to your health care practitioner.
Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry)
Elderberry, or Sambucus nigra, is native to Europe, Northern Africa, North America and Asia.
The elder tree blooms in the summer with clusters of cream-white flowers, followed by blue-black berries.
Elderberry has a long history of traditional use. Hippocrates referred to the elder tree as his “medicine chest” and it was considered to be one of nature’s greatest healing plants by other classical healers. Its known actions are: Antiviral, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, astringent, and alterative.
There are a number of factors in elderberry that may give it its therapeutic properties. These include the flavonoids quercetin and rutin, anthocyanins and vitamins A and C. These chemicals seem to be the key to elder’s anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immune stimulating effects.
Elderberry is thought to be of use against the symptoms of cold and flu by helping to support healthy immune function and as an antioxidant and an antiviral.
Elderberry is known to keep viruses at bay by blocking the virus from entering the cell itself. Flu viruses have trouble with elderberry’s blockades. It has been shown to improve symptoms of flus like coughs, sore throats and sinus congestion.
This makes elderberry a rare herb as it not only prevents infection but also treats the infection after it’s taken hold. Elderberry is an important herb for the immune system, but it needs to be used frequently. Elderberry constituents do not cling to the tissue, which means daily treatment is not only safe but essential to block viruses.
RESEARCH ON ELDERBERRY
• Black elderberry extracts and flower infusions have been shown to reduce the severity and length of influenza.
• One study of 60 people with influenza found that those who took 15 ml of elderberry syrup four times per day showed symptom improvement in two to four days, while the control group took seven to eight days to improve.
• Another study of 64 people found that taking 175-mg elderberry extract lozenges for two days resulted in significant improvement in flu symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches and nasal congestion, after just 24 hours.
• Additionally, a study of 312 air travellers taking capsules containing 300 mg of elderberry extract three times per day found that those who got sick experienced a shorter duration of illness and less severe symptoms
This remedy tastes great and can be used for adults and children alike (please use maple syrup instead of honey for children under 1 year of age).
• 2 cups dried elderberries
• 6 cups water
• Handful of cloves
• 5 cinnamon quills
• 1 1/2 cups raw honey
• 8 tablespoons gelatin
• Bring berries and water to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
• Strain berries and return liquid to the heat.
• Add cloves and cinnamon.
• Simmer gently for another 45-60 minutes, or until 2 cups of liquid remains.
• Remove liquid from the heat, allow to cool to room temp.
• Stir in 1 1/2 cups of raw honey
• 'Bloom' gelatin by adding 8tbs of gelatin to 1/2 cup of water
• Add bloomed gelatin to the rest of the warm syrup and stir or gently whisk until fully dissolved (if you need to, you can very gently heat the mixture to help dissolve)
• Pour into silicone molds or a lined baking tray and refrigerate to set (2 hrs)
Take 2 teaspoons worth every 3 hours at the first sign of a virus invasion.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
Good nutrition and a balanced diet is important for growth, development and long term health. But in a world full of choices, one of the biggest challenges we face as parents is to ensure that our children are eating well not just now, but in the future. We do our best to navigate through the mountains of information and provide healthy food choices in the home, but perhaps there should be more emphasis on how our own attitudes, actions and choices are influencing how our children eat.
To improve our children’s nutrition, it is important to reflect on our own relationship with nutrition and food. Reflecting your own mealtime practices and exercising healthy nutrition habits will benefit both of you. Here are some points to consider:
Monkey, see monkey eat!
Children are mirrors of the world around them, observing and learning from so much more than we appreciate. Kids are likely to follow in their parents’ footsteps when it comes to eating patterns. Whether you are openly eating a nutritious meal or hiding behind the cupboard eating a chocolate bar (oh, they will find you), your child is likely to pick up some of these behaviors. Observe your own dietary habits. Are you consciously nourishing yourself with healthy food, or are you just grabbing any quick fix? Are you eating all of your meal, or are you skipping meals altogether? Are you flicking through your emails at the table, or mindfully eating?
Meal times should be a social
Once you have checked in on your nutritional behaviours, the next step is to share mealtimes with your little one. People who eat in a social setting are more like to make better food choices and are at lower risk of becoming overweight. Many parents get into the habit of feeding their child first and then eating their own dinner after the child goes to bed. Whilst this seems more convenient, eating together takes the focus off the child’s eating and the meal becomes a more relaxed and social event. As a bonus to some quality family time, studies have also shown that children who regularly eat with their families do better at school.
If you give up, so will they
Many kids will reject foods for the first time purely through fear of trying something new. For many reasons, many parents will give up on a rejected food or meal after only 2 or 3 attempts. This is not the time to give up, if you do, your child will too. The key here is repeated exposure of rejected foods and importantly, gentle encouragement to taste. Their little taste buds are still developing and can actually be trained to like a food. It may take 10 to 16 tastes of a food before a child the decides that they like it. Encourage your child to taste by enjoying the same food. When a young child sees an adult enthusiastically eating a certain food, their intake of that food is likely to be higher.
Let them eat cake!
This may seem contrary to all the healthy eating information that we’re given, but one of life’s greatest pleasures is enjoying delicious food. Just as your child is observing what is coming off your plate, they are also taking cues from your attitude towards food. Enjoy your food and allow your child to experience this delight also! Negative and positive associations to food can stay with a child throughout their life. You might be surprised to know that being too restrictive with a kid’s diet correlates with overeating and reduced ability to self-regulate intake of high energy foods. Whilst healthy foods should be the usual choice, sharing some birthday cake or indulging in an ice-cream every now and then is far healthier than forbidding foods altogether. If you are concerned about certain ingredients, then actively seek alternatives but try not to push these concerns onto your child. (Note: Of course, if you or your child has an known/ high risk intolerance or allergy to a food, restrict it and educate your child as to why).
In a nutshell:
You have the biggest role in shaping your child’s nutritional habits for life. By modeling healthy dietary habits, creating a positive and relaxed environment at meal times, and allowing balance, you can help your child to develop lifelong healthy dietary habits.