How to create a Time Table to Nourish – & Schedule Meals for the Young Child

Life is hectic for sure – Pandemic or not. Currently, with the shift of the school from its site to the home, the online classes and the busy routine, it sure is a busy time for moms and the child.Also the school reopening. Moms may begin to look at meal times with a little anxiety – that routine of early hectic mornings, breakfast to be prepared, lunches to be made and snacks to be kept ready. Our little ones compete with master chef judges before they consent to eat meals. 

Most moms, especially working ones are at their wit’s end on how to get their child to eat.. Uh Uh not just eat but eat well. How do we get them to relish their meals and snacks and finish their meals? 

Well, there is a method we could use. 

Have we ever wondered how schools get so much done for their students and by their students? Well, they use scheduling. Everything that they want accomplished is on their calendar and their plan and their time table. 

That’s what we have to adopt. We need a daily and weekly time table for nourishment. Putting time into scheduling is what will save time as well as energy expended into getting them to eat. 

This write up discusses scheduling breakfast wisely. Let’s look at what that entails… 

Let us not forget that our angel will be eating breakfast after a gap of about 10 hours which means that he will be low on energy in the morning.

Since we expect them in most cases to rush to school and apply their intellect, be attentive, to concentrate and to be productive, it only seems fair that we must provide the fuel for it. That fuel is carbohydrate, in the morning children need carbohydrates -some of which will provide energy quickly for their immediate needs and some types which will keep generating energy till the next meal. There is also a vital need for some vitamins and minerals to help the glucose to metabolise. Some protein is essential in the morning to provide for amino acids which can produce the correct balance of neurotransmitters, so that they are able to do all those cerebral activities. 

Remember, our agenda is nourishing the body for optimum performance not merely to fill the growling stomach. 

I am sure that questions arise in our minds, “Really, does it make so much of a difference? My child is anyway going to eat at 9.30 or 10 am or in case of an afternoon shift – a brunch can suffice”. 

Such questions need to be permanently erased. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It has to deliver enough nutrients to kick start the day and allow for optimum performance. This is proven by research. Children who eat a good ,wholesome breakfast are the ones who are able to process information better, are more alert, can concentrate better and do better in class. They also are able to be more physically active. The habit of a good wholesome breakfast keeps overweight and obesity at bay, curbs food cravings and helps regulate appetite. It also helps maintain immunity. If breakfast is skipped or skimped, other meals cannot compensate for providing the day’s nutritional requirements, because children have smaller stomachs. They can eat only in accordance with that. Now, with so many proven benefits, can we afford not to pay attention to breakfast –the first meal of the day?

So, how should we translate scientific nutritional  information onto our child’s plate or into his dabba?

Let’s schedule a 7 day i.e. a one week nourishing breakfast:

What is essential to deliver protein, calcium and slow release carbohydrates along with a host of other nutrients is milk /milk products. Eggs can be used too but it is not very rich in calcium.

Can combine it with some more carbohydrates, of course from whole grains as it is power packed- a roti/paratha/puri/toast/poha/upma/dhokla/idli/dosa /cereal. 

Some vegetables /fruit and/or a dash of nuts for the vitamins and minerals.

Now let’s see if we can combine it together into a meal

Day 1: Nut Milkshake + plain paratha

Day 2: Chickoo smoothie + poha

Day 3: Palak/Red Pumpkin puri + dahi

Day 4: Milk+ idli and chutney

Day 5: Fresh juice +cheese veg toast

Day 6: Milk +cereal +fruit +nuts

Day 7:  Fresh juice + egg pancake

See, isn’t that easy? Once we know why and what to do we can put in some time and figure out how to do it.

You may have noted that the amounts are not mentioned. That will vary based on the age and the appetite of the child .But remember that younger children will have to be served a smaller amount of beverage/milk if you want them to eat the cereal too. They cannot be guzzling one cup or glass of milk and be expected to eat a paratha also. That’s one of the things that overenthusiastic moms go wrong which end up in traumatic early morning rejections of the meal and harried moms labeling their child stubborn, naughty and being a picky eater. The younger the child is, the smaller the portion of each item is to be. Start with smaller portions but greater variety and modify as per your child’s acceptance.

So, go on, create your special time table for breakfast in your special way that your little angel will relish. Happy scheduling!

At Nutrition with Vibha, we  believe that good health and good eating habits need to start young. Write into us with your needs and queries, so that we can curate content and recipes for you to help you achieve your nutritional targets.

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