Designing a meal timetable for your children that is practical makes life easier for a mother or caregiver in the long run. It does not require mathematics to be able to put a great meal plan together but it does require effort; a one-time effort.
Sometimes, it can be hard to keep up with all of this and so it’s best to draw up a meal plan. It is a commendable effort to put this together for your child because you would know exactly what you are feeding your child, keep track of the different foods he has tried, have a source of information in case of allergies or health issues relating to food that come up as and generally ensure that your child is eating adequately.
Apart from it being a deliberate effort to improve your child’s nutrition, it helps you plan for your shopping, and save time in preparation when you have it all written down.
Try to include all the food groups in your meal plan. This way, you know that your child is consuming a variety of meals. All you then have to worry about is how to cook them to get value out of the nutrients as well as portion size and texture for your infant.
Let us take a look at Monday.
If your child is 6-9 months, she is supposed to be eating 2-3 meals a day with 1-2 snacks in addition to the milk she is taking.
I have planned out the time such that it can accommodate the 2 meals and 1 fruit snack. For some people, you might decide to include the fruits into the meals e.g. apple with the cereal for breakfast and then include another meal. You can establish your child’s food habits from this onset by offering a variety of meals and including fruits and vegetables into her meals.
Monday = Grains, roots and tuber + Vegetables + fleshy foods + fruit + dairy
I have included 5 of the 7 food groups. If your child eats all this in one day (along with appropriate age-appropriate portion sizes and other factors considered), she would have been fed appropriately.
Let us look at Tuesday.
Tuesday = Dairy + grain, root and tubers + legume +fleshy food +vitamin A rich fruit
I have also included 5 of the 7 food groups. This time, I have legumes and a vitamin A rich fruit also included.
Once you start taking all these food groups into consideration, it becomes a part of you. You can also use this method to design something for the rest of the family.
Now, I left Thursday to Sunday blank in the sample plan for a 6-9 months old infant so that you can try also. Make sure you do not repeat the meals too often except if you are trying out new foods for the first time and you want your child to accept it. When you achieve this, you will have a diversified meal plan that you can upgrade and modify to suit your child as she grows and as she becomes more ready to explore other foods in each food group.
Click here to access my earlier post on appropriate portion sizes and frequency of feeding for infants and toddlers.
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