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Is your child a fussy eater?

Portea Homecare

Portea Homecare

  Domlur, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   3 min     

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Fussy eating is often the norm for toddlers and many young children. Most of the times, kids are unwilling to try new foods, eats only a certain type of food and refuses other foods, wastes time at the dining table, refuses food based on color or texture etc.

Why do children become fussy eaters?

  • Physical growth begins to slow – appetite may decrease
  • Learning to assert their independence
  • Beginning to self regulate
  • Appetite varies from day to day
  • Definite food preferences beginning to be established

How to cope?

Know what you are expected to do and what your child is expected do. Only do what is expected of you and let the child do what is expected of him. It’s important to be patient and firm.

  • Use whole grains
  • Use sprouted dals
  • Add vegetables to dals, upma and noodles
  • Mix greens in chappati dough
  • Add fruit to cereal
  • Add oats to dosa, chappati or in desserts
  • Use honey or jaggery instead of sugar
  • Make one pot meals like khichdi with vegetables

You decide:

  • What to eat
  • Serve a variety of healthy foods
  • Set a good example by choosing different healthy foods
  • Increase the nutritional value of dish

When to eat

  • Serve regular meals and healthy snacks
  • Stick to a routine and discourage snacking any time
  • Offer water when child is thirsty between meals
  • Let your child eat only at meal and snack times

Where to eat

  • Have your child sit at the table
  • Make mealtime family time
  • Parents/ care takers must eat with children
  • Chair and table should be of the right height
  • Allow plenty of time
  • Encourage self feeding
  • Do not offer sweets as bribes
  • Accept mess as a normal part of feeding
  • Minimize distractions like TV

Your child will decide

  • If at all he will eat or not eat
  • How much to eat
  • What foods to eat from the ones you offer him (so offer plenty of healthy choices)
  • It is the child’s job to feed on his own

Never do this

  • Force your child to eat
  •  Use food as a reward
  • Make a separate meal for your child
  • Lose your cool at the table

Offering new foods

  • Offer at the beginning of the meal when your child is most hungry
  • Offer small portions
  • Praise child for eating even little of the new food
  • Be a good role model by trying new foods
  • Talk about food
  • How it is made
  • The taste, colour, texture, smell
  • From where it comes
  • Memories related to the food, if any
  • Offer only one new food at a time
  • Offer it many times

You may have to offer food almost 10-15 times before a child accepts it. Do not give up.Keep offering the food to the child. Try to change the way it made or served

More helpful hints- Involve children in making meals.

Ask them to-

  • stir the batter
  • lay the table
  • shell peas
  • snap the beans
  • count the vegetables
  • Add dry ingredients
  • Mix the salad vegetables

Make food look attractive

  • Using cookie cutters to cut out various shapes of sandwiches
  • Make faces with idli, roti, dosa, sandwich
  • Decorate food with fresh vegetables
  • Add beetroot or spinach to dosa/ chappati to make it colorful
  • Use attractive coloured plates and bowls

If food from one food group is refused try another from the same food group-

  • Yellow/orange vegetables instead of GLV
  • Curd, cheese, paneer instead of milk
  • Offer praise for eating even little
  • Have a consistent approach by all family members, each time
  • Ensure child has enough physical activity

Remember if your child is growing well and full of energy do not worry about how much he/she is eating. So do not be anxious. Be a good role model. Allow your child to choose from the foods you offer.

Tags:  Food,Healthy foods,

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