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‘We talk a lot about feelings’: Sameera Reddy on conscious parenting and dealing with fussy eaters

Sameera Reddy is a hands-on mom who will stop at nothing to ensure emotional, mental and physical health for her children. In a recent exclusive interaction with Express Parenting, she talked about her children and their fussy eating habits and temperaments, and how she ensures their well-being by actually listening to them.

“In the lockdown last year, I started to take the easy route out with what actually works with kids,” she said of her biggest pandemic concern. “Whatever works, let’s just get the feeding done. I had to remind myself how important it is to understand the fact that both the children are different and there are certain foods that they don’t like,” the actor said.

While her daughter, Nyra, is not a breakfast person, her son Hans loves them. On the other hand, he avoids dinners and Nyra enjoys them. Reddy said she had to invest a lot of time to understand how they eat. “That was the trick, to understand their favourite foods and how to incorporate them [in their diet]. As parents, we are already under so much pressure, so we end up letting go sometimes just to get the job done.”

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The 42-year-old, who frequently shares honest and relatable posts about her life as a mother on social media, also shared a tip for other parents who may be dealing with fussy eaters at home: “I have made my children aware of food, everything to do with it — where it comes from, etc. I have taken them to markets, I have made them plant seeds and grow plants. This is really important for a child, to make them understand where everything is coming from,” she said.

“Hans hates vegetables. But now, he is excited about having planted his own avocado and helping it grow. He is now, in fact, explaining to us what the nutrients are! It is really about making it exciting for a kid and not pushing what you think is right for them,” she continued.

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While Hans is a fussier kid, Nyra eats everything. “Sour stuff, olives; her favourites are almonds and walnuts — it is so strange. And now Hans has picked up this habit and has started eating everything.”

The actor practises conscious parenting to ensure her children’s emotional and mental well-being. She said she listens to them to gauge their reactions and understand where they are coming from. “It is amazing how my mother-in-law, my husband and I, as a team, understand the reactions from both the kids. We talk a lot about feelings, which I never did as a kid. I do that a lot with Hans — I can tell when he is upset and why he is upset.

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“As an adult, I am an emotional eater. A lot of decisions that I make are very emotional and reactive. These, I believe, are conditionings that come from very early on. I want to make my kids independent, for them to understand what they are feeling and why they are feeling it.”

As far as her own emotional and physical health is concerned, the actor said it is important for parents to take care of themselves, too. The actor has long collaborated with PediaSure, which has recently launched two new ingredients — arginine and vitamin K2 — and swears by it when it comes to nourishment for her kids.

“Mental and physical health play equal and important roles. My campaign ‘imperfectly perfect’ is really about that — don’t get sucked into the pressure of trying to keep up. Having a healthy mind to go with a healthy body is more significant than being skinny, or more appealing to the society. It is the synergy [of mind and body] that is important for moms and dads,” she concluded.

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