Baby at the big table

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Adapting the family meal for Baby

That’s it ! Your child finally masters the gesture: the spoon navigates from plate to mouth without too many hiccups, managing to satisfy both his desire for independence and his little ogre’s appetite. After lunch, its place still looks a bit like a “battlefield”, no matter what, a real milestone has passed. He can join the family table. What a symbol! Particularly in France, where the family meal is a real socio-cultural landmark, of unity and cohesion, of fraternity and exchange. In our country, 89% of children eat with their parents, 75% before 20 p.m. and 76% at fixed times. Corn giving a meal is not just feeding your child. There is the gustatory pleasure, the edutainment aspect, and the interaction with the family, which takes all its importance and actively participates in the education of the child.

Beware of food gaps for Baby!

See you soon to be 2 years old, Baby is now independent in his actions, but his admission to the table of adults should not change the content of his plate! Let’s be vigilant: from 1 to 3 years, he has specific nutritional needs, which deserve to be taken care of. Yet not all parents seem to be aware of this. Most believe they are doing well by feeding the youngest like the rest of the family, once the food diversification is complete. We note that the integration of the child at the table of adults is often a source of food excesses, causing various deficiencies and excesses for the organism of a toddler. Although appetizing and seemingly balanced, our menus are rarely suitable for toddlers. Of course, there are vegetables in this gratin, but there are also melted cheese, ham, a salted bechamel sauce… What if we took the opportunity to rethink the overall diet of the family?

Baby’s Dinner: the family must adapt

Just because your child has joined the big table doesn’t mean you have to skip the essentials of nutrition. Here are some rules to pin on the fridge. At the top of the list, no added salt ! Of course, when you’re cooking for the whole family, it’s tempting to put salt in the preparation… and add it once the dish is on the plate! But many foods contain salt naturally. And if the family dish seems bland, it’s just that our adult taste buds are saturated. Eating less salt prevents the risk of obesity and high blood pressure. On the iron side, there is nothing to do between the child and the adult: to meet his iron needs and avoid the onset of deficiency (this is the case for a little bit out of three after 6 months), he needs 500 ml growth milk per day. So even at breakfast, we do not switch to cow’s milk, even if the brothers and sisters consume it. On the other hand, protein side (meat, eggs, fish): we often tend to give in excess and exceed the necessary quantities. A single serving per day (25-30 g) is sufficient before 2 years. Regarding sugars, children have a clear preference for sweet flavors, but do not know how to moderate their consumption. Here too, why not change family habits? We limit desserts, cakes, sweets. And we end the meal with a piece of fruit. Ditto for mayonnaise and ketchup (fatty and sweet), fried foods and cooked meals for adults, but also low-fat products! Baby needs lipids, of course, but not just any fat. These are the essential fatty acids, necessary for the nutritional balance of children (to be found in breast milk, growth milk, “raw” oils, that is to say unrefined, virgin and first pressure oils. cold, cheeses, etc.). At last, at the table, we drink water, nothing but water, no syrup. Sparkling water and sodas, it is not before 3 years, and only on the occasion of a party, for example.

Dinner: a family ritual

Your little one entertains the table with his babbling and his cheeks smeared with mash? He wants to taste everything and imitate his big sister who handles the fork like a chef? So much the better, it makes him progress. We are models: the way we hold ourselves, the way we eat, the menu offered, etc. If Mom and Dad don’t eat vegetables at home, the kids are unlikely to dream of them! To the best of my mind … According to an American study, children who eat dinner with their family regularly, who have a sleep period adapted to their age (at least 10 and a half hours per night) and / or watch television only for a limited time ( less than 2 hours a day) suffer less from obesity. Avoid dining with the television on whenever possible on the news (or any other program!). Because sharing meals with the family promotes the consumption of fruits and vegetables in a more diversified diet. When you’re not looking at a screen while eating, you take more time to chew each bite, which helps digestion. Of course, at the table, it can become a happy mess, you have to be careful to listen to everyone’s stories, young and old, to prevent arguments and whining. And despite our busy schedules, we have to try to create this ritual, every night if we can, and at least once a week. A common meal during which we take stock of our activities, where everyone is valued in their field. Also insist on good manners, but without overdoing it, so as not to spoil the meal! Make them good times, let the food be associated with good memories. It strengthens the bonds in the family. It’s your turn !

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