Eating habits vs Five senses

The vision mission, life’s ambition for every mother is to feed her child to the best satisfactory way. Let me tell you two top secrets about this mother’s ambition

1. The age of the child doesn’t matter, a mother will always want her child to “beta, aur thoda please… “. While I try to reduce my weight, preparing myself acquire a healthy forties, my mom agrees that I have gained weight, but that doesn’t count. Fresh ghee for dosa and take bigger scoops of rice while serving – this never changes.

2. The mom wants to feed the child until she is satisfied. Oh hurray! This is a loop here, because a mother will never get satisfied that her child has eaten well. “My 4 year old son ate 2 dosas only, but he did not take enough chutney, where will the strength come from, so let me get a cup of badam milk for him, and the fruits are important, so after an hour, let me serve cut fruits” – haha, every mother has this inbuilt emotions.

Now, coming to the point, I am also one such mother and during my first child experiencing toddler phase, I kind of kept a tracker mentally on “WHAT” he ate, how much quantity I PUSHED inside his little body and is he gaining weight, gaining strength. But, later I was able to understand that this blind vision of pushing food inside your little one actually does harm to the kids on a larger sense. I was able to understand it as years passed by, with the experience of my son not enjoying the food, rather it was about finishing ( hate to admit that I had used techniques like rhymes, distracting games to fool feed them ) so it was more about the drama attached to eating time, than the actual “process”. I realized my mistake. Something was missing , I had missed an important part of

Recently , few months ago, my daughter’s school sent an assignment of learning about 5 senses of the body. And suddenly I was able to find the missing piece. And hurray! it worked!

“Eating” is just not about “what” but also about “how” you perceive the process. Five senses below ( with the connection to eating habit) :

Eyes (see) : Look at the food you eat, observe the colors and textures and variety of food on the plate. The concept of curry, side dish, pickle rather, starter, main course, dessert is introduced for the observation and admiring each menu’s appeal. 2 common mistakes, we make w.r.t this sense : 1. We mothers, smash and mix the food , blend it into a “gulpable” version which totally disrupts the “observing” ability. 2. Oh, the TV, rhymes, watching some stuff as we feed them, some kids do not even know what they ate for lunch, because they were so engrossed you see! Oopsy

Ears (hear) : Crunch and munch the pappad, Slurp the curd , feel the spice till your ears as you bite the pickle – Also enjoy hearing about the food , the proteins to make connection with what you eat.

Nose (smell) : Ofcourse the smell! “Hmm,I smell biryani”, this is my favorite thing to hear when my little ones come running to kitchen. It is important for the children to smell the flavours, the curry leaves, the sweetness of dessert, the cardomom – oh, mommies, do not kill this wonderful experience with your vision of dumping food into them

Skin (Touch): The first time I got fascinated about western culinary methods, using fork and spoon, my grandmother also told some beautiful stories relating to the epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata . Also the famous Avvaiyar – Murugan story, where the connect between touch of the food is a small segment yet vital one. And that is a very special thing about our Culture, where our hands “Feel” the food as we eat them. Allow your kid to “Feel” the food , ofcourse be ready for the mess at the dining table during initial days, but that creates a strong bond to their appetite.

Tongue (taste) : The obvious factor of the 5 senses is taste of the food. How much of spice is given, do you give them salt, are you loading them with sugar content just because they taste good ? Does your child like crunchy vegetable fries or cooked sambar vegetables? There is a lot about making them understand the different tastes and making them try the varieties to prepare their body.

Ah, with above five senses, I literally could feel the depth of feeding our children (even to self). The importance of enabling these five senses to your children as you teach them to eat. Have a time discipline, habit of eating together, let children also be part of setting up the table, bringing plates and fetching water and the clean up process. Do not treat eating as a dumping session rather let there be family time, let it be natural process, let them get hungry and wait for the food, let their eyes pop out as they see their favorites being served. Let them smell the food and try to guess the favours, let them pick and lick the juicy veggies, and see the twinkle in their five senses as they understand how blessed we are to have this food in life!

Hope the above was useful, My two cents on sharing experiences of a tried and tested mother , also have several friends and relatives who have taught me these by either proving the importance or killing their child’s eating habits with motherly vision ! 🙂

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