Bub not eating properly
My brother is three years old. He likes to eat candies and other sweet stuffs but he won’t eat proper meals. We've tried to cajole him into eating, sometimes even threatening him with his toys. Most of the time it doesn't work and he ends up only drinking his milk.
What do you think should we do?
Lots of parents and carers have difficulty getting their young child to eat properly at some point.
You are right that it would be best to steer him away from sweets and candies. These will give him a sugar high and a sugar low and so have a negative effect on his behaviour. A diet heavy in sugar is also unfortunately more likely to lead to long term health conditions such as diabetes and obesity. It can also cause problems with cavities in the teeth.
As you say above also, it is best to avoid a reward/ punishment system when it comes to food. You do not want your brother to start associating emotional responses with food which could lead to an eating disorder or an unhealthy weight as he grows up.
Instead, try to offer him plenty of healthy, enticing snacks throughout the day. Many three year olds don't like to sit still for long and so can find meal-times boring and difficult. The Attachment Parenting paediatrician Dr. Sears recommends trying a 'grazing plate'. This involves putting out a low down plate accessible to the toddler throughout the day full of healthy, fun snacks. One point to bear in mind is that the appearance of food is important to toddlers. Try to make it interesting e.g. making faces out of raw vegetables. Lots of toddlers also like dips such as hummus or salsa. Put plenty of fresh fruit on the plate and you could try other healthy, wholesome snacks like: steamed chicken, tomato pieces, breadsticks, broccoli etc. Replenish the plate throughout the day.
Something else to note it that your brother doesn't necessarily need to have a fully balanced diet every day but he should eat a balanced diet over the course of a week. You may find he has a day of mainly eating meat, another where he eats loads of vegetables and then another when he eats lots of carbohydrates etc. This is fine if he gets a healthy, balanced diet over the course of a week.
Fruit smoothies and green smoothies are another excellent way to help a young child get more fruit/veg in their diet.
What does your brother eat for breakfast? This is a very important meal, especially for children, and will set them up for the day. Porridge is a good option as it releases energy slowly into the body. Sugary cereals are best avoided.
What sort of milk does your brother drink? It is good that he is getting plenty of Calcium.
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