As the face of PediaSure, Reddy addresses common dietary concerns faced by parents and shares personal tips in an interview with IANSlife.
Q: How do you ensure your kids get the right nutrition?
A: I think that it's important to incorporate healthy foods in exciting ways for the kids. And as I said, you know, I work as a team with my mother-in-law, to make that happen. But it's equally important to have the right products to support that. And that's where PediaSure comes into the picture to make sure that even if I've missed certain things in my everyday meals with the kids, I know it's covered with the right nutritional drink.
Q: Being a mother, do you take some time out to understand the right nutrients and ingredients for kids in their growing years?
A: So interestingly enough, I would say social media has absolutely opened my eyes to the most amazing learning for me as a mother because there are so many things that I don't know about. I know there are so many natural sugars that the kids can have, they can have so many amazing ingredients, for example, Ragi, Millets and Quinoa. So, I think it's all a learning process and the fact that brands like PediaSure have incorporated the two new ingredients which are Arginine and vitamin K2. Again, it's a learning for me to have brands introduce these things that tell us that this is what can make nutrition better for kids. So, it's a combination of both me wanting me to learn the information and then having my amazing social media followers, as well as brands, tell us that these are our options out there and this is what you can use.
Q: Are your kids' picky eaters? If yes, how do you handle them?
A: Well, it's interesting that Hans (Sameera's son) was a picky eater, and Nyra (Sameera's daughter) who is 2 years old picks up everything and anything, and she's willing to just try it all, whether it's olives, cranberries, unripe tomatoes etc. It's very strange, but she literally tries everything out.
My son now actually looks at her and he has started eating everything even vegetables, thanks to Nyra, who loves carrots, and brinjal and even eats 'Karela'. So, it's really about you know how the synergy works for both the kids and luckily, he's turned from a fussy eater to now not being fussy.
Q: Do you encourage your kids to eat independently?
A: Absolutely, I have done it from the beginning. My kids use to create a lot of mess and my mother-in-law used to tell me that the kids are creating a lot of mess. And that's when I explained to her that -- in the beginning, when you allow kids to make the mess, you're making them independent enough to understand about how much they can eat and they know when to stop, instead of force-feeding. So, I have always done that, absolutely encouraged it. And today, you know, it's really worked well for me. It's not easy in the beginning, but it works.
Q: What are your thoughts about respecting your child's appetite? If the child says no to eat further, how do you address the situation?
A: So, it's interesting. But I think both children, at this point, go through phases, especially Nyra, too. There's a week where she just maybe won't eat as much, and then suddenly, she'll play a sport and then she'll be eating everything in sight, I do not force her to a point where the child will cry. But I definitely introduce different things.
So, if one thing is not working, being South Indian I will always have Dosa atta around and I know, that's my go-to, or I'll even try plain rice, or I'll try anything that is a change, I won't force the same thing into my kid's mouths.
Q: If you could share some parental tips on establishing healthy eating patterns.
A: So sometimes I just know, there are moments when I have to think outside the box, like most parents. Sometimes trying to force a meat at a particular moment, may not work. Then, you have certain go to's like dahi-chawal and other dishes. But if there are certain points where they don't eat, especially after they have a cold, or they're recovering from something, then at that point, you don't have to get scared. It's all a process.
(N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at email@example.com)