Food should be fun for kids. When kids have fun with food, moms feel worry-free as their little bundles of joy discover the tastes of new foods. However, it is entirely normal for kids to resist certain foods as they advance from the infant stage to toddlerhood and preschool. Kids are naturally more sensitive to taste, smell, and texture. They also develop particular eating habits by imitating their parents' eating habits. For some mothers, the biggest stress can come from a child who is a picky eater.
Picky eating is widespread in childhood. Have you ever tried many different ways to make your child eat a portion of food? They generally eat a limited number of foods and typically eat one food from the food texture groups such as crunchy, soft, etc. It is often frustrating for parents to have restricted food choices when they are eating out. If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. So, what do you do if your child makes limited choices? The main aim of feeding your child is to try out new foods and steer away from turning the table into a battleground.
EVOLUTION OVER TIME
Dealing with fussy eaters requires patience and time. Change is not immediate gradual. Try out these hacks and food tricks for your picky eaters
- Engage the child: Make it a habit to involve the child in various food-related activities such as going grocery shopping, vegetable buying and dinner preparation. Ask for their preferences before cooking the meals. When children feel more engaged they are likely to try new foods.
- Make mealtimes fun: Children love to explore. Help them develop healthy practices and let them play with food for some time. They want to hold, smush and feel the food. Allowing this exploration may lead to them eating the food eventually. Initially, it will be messy, but later they will learn to eat. Eating should not feel like a task for them.
- Portion size: While you introduce any food, serve a small portion size. The child should not be overwhelmed by the size of the food, and wastage will be less.
- Offering various foods: Offering variety will take care of nutrient requirements. No single food group contains all the nutrients in the right amount. Make it a routine practise to introduce a new vegetable every week.
- Be a role model: Children imitate parents in many ways. Even if you do not like any food, do not say in front of the child. As parents, you need to behave the same way you would want your child to respond towards food.
- Introduce new foods with a twist: Children are fascinated with colours, shapes, and sizes. Make use of colours in food, like adding grated beetroot & carrot to curd. Cook green pancakes using leafy vegetables like pureed spinach. Bake bread, cakes & cookies in different cookie cutter shapes. Make a rainbow salad. Freeze cut fruits in ice trays etc.
Picky eating is not a life-long problem. Parents can effectively deal with this to avoid nutrient deficiency during the early years of life. The key is to stress less and play more all the way to happiness and health.