Dealing with fussy eatersJan 12, 2018
As children most of us had dreadful food tales of our own. From bitter gourds to spinach and from rice to eggs, we remember how our mothers struggled to get even one morsel of food down our throat and how much cajoling and perseverance was needed to make us eat a piece of vegetable. Today, surprisingly the food that we hated so much is part of our staple menu because we have developed enough sense to understand that they are loaded with nutrients.
It's frustrating to feed a fussy eater and a good percent of children are fussy eaters. A new study has found that a child's refusal to eat certain foods could be influenced by genetics. They found that genetic influence, parental behavior and a stressful mealtime can play a significant role in a child's attitude towards food.
Tips to tackle a fussy eater
- Understand that not eating certain food items is actually a serious problem called food neophobia.
- Introduce your child to as much variety in food as you can from an early age. Let them explore different tastes and colours of vegetables, fruits etc.
- Do not get disheartened or scold the child if he/she doesn't eat. Instead reward or praise them as they make progress.
- Make meal time enjoyable for the child. The whole family can have the meal together so that the child can see how elders eat and try each dish. Since children emulate elders you can encourage the kids to try new dishes along with you.
- Children also like being given activities. Parents can handover small tasks within the child's capabilities like squeezing a lemon or rolling a roti so that they develop interest to try out the food they made.
- Avoid empty calorie snacks or soft drinks and keep a supply of healthy snacks ready.
- Their favourite junk food could be made with healthy ingredients. This way you can ensure that the child is getting enough nutrients.
- A child is easily drawn by the colour and the look of a dish. So decorating their plate using different colours of vegetables like bell peppers of different colours or black olives would make food look tempting.
- Parents can teach the children the importance of growing a backyard garden. The young ones can get an experience of growing vegetables, fruits and herbs with their own hands.
- Most of the children hesitate to eat vegetables in the form of a curry. One can blend, mash or puree them and include it with other food items to make it more appealing.
- Switch off the TV and never encourage the habit of giving mobile phones to children to make them eat.