Why parents should feed babies with colourful plates, spoons – Dietician

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A Registered Dietician and Nutritionist, Olusola Malomo, has appealed to parents to always use colourful plates to feed their babies, especially those under the age of five years, noting that bright colours stimulate babies to eat very well.

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The dietician advised parents not to joke about the nutrition of their children, stressing that poor food intake can affect their growth and development besides the risk of suffering from malnutrition.

Malomo who spoke during an interview with newsmen, also affirmed that colourful plates make feeding exciting for children and encourage them to have an interest in food.

The nutrition expert said: “Children are used to colours and bright colours attract and excite them. For a child who is not taking an interest in food, even that plate alone, which has the look of a toy could make the child eat. Plates and spoons with bright colours should be used to feed children and they should also have more than one plate.

Advising parents to feed their children responsively the dietician counselled, “When the food is prepared, the quantity that gets to the child at the end of the day, matters most. Oftentimes, some children may be picky eaters, for example, they don’t want to eat. In this case, now, care and nurture come into play. We call it responsive feeding,” he said.

Malomo, who is an Assistant Chief Dietician at the Ajeromi General Hospital, Lagos, also cautioned parents against allowing their children, especially those under the age of five to watch TV while eating, warning that it causes a distraction to them.

The dietician stated that watching television while eating is a bad habit that kids should not be allowed to develop, cautioning that such an act could lead to poor food intake.

He noted that not only does television cause a distraction while they having their meal but also makes them eat little.

Malomo said: “Television and toys are distractions to children. Some children will prefer to play with the toys rather than to eat.

“Some will prefer to watch cartoons rather than to eat and feeding needs concentration for them to finish their food.

“These are some of the things we have observed particularly with under-five feeding. Children shouldn’t grow up eating in front of the television, even adults. We call it behavioural modification.

“Anytime there is a feeding session, children should know that mealtime is mealtime and should respect it and eat. They should grow up with that habit.”

According to him, adequate nutrition goes beyond the provision of food, stressing that it has to do with the qualitative adequacy of the food in terms of quality, quantity and availability of that food that is eaten in the body.

“The recommendation is, to let the feeding time be feeding time and let every distraction be off so that after their meal, they can come back to watch the television.

“When feeding children, any distraction should be kept away from them. Television, toys and anything that can distract their attention from feeding should be kept away because children will have a preference for toys and television over their meals.

“And that will reduce the quantity or quality of food that will be available to them for that meal. They may eat less or may not even be interested in the food, and this can lead to malnutrition”, he said.