Remember that a healthy digestion creates ojas and immunity, and an unhealthy digestion toxins and sickness.
One of the most important ways to cultivate smooth digestion is to create a selected, quiet environment so the child can pay attention to the food he is eating . Just having some attention on the food will help him or her to digest it. If the television is turned off, if there is an unhurried feeling, if the conversation is easy going and relaxed, the food will digest much better. If there is an atmosphere of rushing and commotion, the digestive process could actually be disrupted and toxins could be created.
This could happen only if the food is nourishing, nutrient dense and wholesome. Making the family meal a happy , settled daily event helps immensely improving your child’s eating habits. A recent study by Harvard Medical school has shown that children who eat with their parents eat less junk food, eat more fruits and vegetables and ingest more of the nutrients needed for their developing nervous system. The old-fashioned family meal is good for your child’s health:-)
Nourishing Habits that help child’s root cause of picky eating…
Schedule three hot meals plus two snacks and serve them at set meal times each day.
The digestion gets accustomed to a schedule. If habituated to operating at the same time every day, the digestive juices will increase at that time, enhancing digestion & this helps the child to self regulate and understand his or her hunger signals.
Serve the main meal at noon, when the digestion is at its peak.
Just as the sun is strongest at noontime, so your child’s internal fire is strongest at that time. Between twelve and one o’clock is the time to serve the heaviest meal. Fresh cheeses, lassi, yogurt, or fresh desserts, should be served at the noon meal. If your child not a vegetarian, this is the time to serve chicken or fish(and if served in the form of soups, it is even more digestible). Evening is a time to eat lighter ,both in quantity and quality because digestive fire is weaker in the evening. If a large, heavy meal is sitting in the intestines at bedtime it will not digest. Instead, it will create indigestion and restless, disrupted sleep. Give your children dinner between 7:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. so there are two full hours to digest the food before bedtime. It’s the best time for better health for whole family:)
Be sure your child has finished digesting the previous meal before eating a snack or a new meal.
Children usually know when they are hungry. Do not weaken this natural signal by forcing your child to eat when he’s not hungry, especially if there hasn’t been enough to digest the meal before. Mother’s who used more pressure at feeding were more likely to see their child’s appetite as smaller that that of other babies, and fear their child would be underweight in the future.
Serve small amounts of room temperature or warm water with the meals.
The stomach should be filled with one third liquid (including soups), and one-third space (to allow room for digestion). The feeding relationship suffers when there is a mismatch between parental expectations and a child’s eating personality – it will enhance every feeding interaction, and the child will do better with eating.
Do not encourage your child to overeat.
Its important t consider the digestive strength of the child in determining the quantity of food he can digest. The child’s digestive capacity may be sharp, it might be slow, it might be irregular, and it might be very balanced. It’s important to respect child’s digestive health. Don’t force your child to eat more than he is able. Rotate different fruits, veggies, soft meats, fish, and grains. Ensure to serve 4-5 times a day and every time you are offering its an opportunity to serve healthy and well balanced meals.
Serve your family meals in a quiet and pleasant place without T.V ,telephone calls, computers ,or intense conversation.
Food digests most easily when the conversation is light and pleasant and there is not a lot of commotion around. This is especially important if your child is a picky eater. Meal time is when he can regain energy, and it forms the basis for his happiness and success throughout the day. Work to maintain a calm, supportive and interactive feeding environment. Stressed child may shut down or act out.
Encourage your child not to eat too quickly or too slowly.
If the child eats too slowly, the food will become cold and the digestion will be held up, perhaps creating a stomachache. This is best learned by example. There is a saying you should drink your solids, and eat your liquids. This refers to chewing. If you chew your solids carefully, they will become like a liquid. And if you sip your drinks rather than gulping them down, you will digest them better.
Ask your child to sit down while eating.
This is sometimes difficult for very young child to do , but its essential in maintaining a smooth digestion. It’s hard at one year when the child is exploring and can’t sit at one place. It not only drive you crazy but also the child will assume that meal time is a play time. Do not encourage this habit from young age and engage your child in healthy art activity or talking about the deliciousness of fruits and veggies and making them understand the health benefits. happily working on a daily checklist of what healthy h/she had today is also a great idea.
Cultivate a habit of sitting quietly for a moment at the beginning of the meal and for a few minutes at the end.
Many families say a brief prayer before the meal starts, and besides the religious benefits, this also helps the mind and body settle down before starting to eat. If your family isn’t in the habit of praying, you could suggest that everyone bow their heads silently for a few minutes before eating. If you eat the food in a proper manner, you gain all the meal’s subtle values; you nourish not only the body but also the mind, senses, and consciousness itself. Don’t force them to clean their plate. After eating, continue to sit together, enjoying pleasant conversation. This helps digestion get off to a good start.
Avoid serving food and drinks in the car.
You can follow these habits even when you’re travelling with the family. Motion is Vata -producing, so eating in the car while driving can increase Vata and cause digestive problems and carsickness. Food and drinks deserve respect, and should only be consumed when you can devote your attention to them.
These simple habits can ensure your child’s healthy digestion and constitution through out life. Yes, you can do this. Wishing your child ,a joyous path to a healthy life, experiencing powerful gut, disease free life, I am right here with you to applaud on your success and supporting you in transforming your picky eaters to happy eaters.