Fussy eating is a normal phenomenon faced by almost every parent. Your child suddenly decides that he or she will only eat a few particular foods. Fussy eating is a part of children's development and is most common in toddler age group. One important reason why kids get fussy about eating is also because their appetites go up and down depending on how much they're growing and how active they are.
When children become picky eaters, it leads to them having an unbalanced diet and in turn making their growth suffer. Here are some tips for the parents to their rescue:
1. START EARLY:
If you are feeding your kid with bottle feeder, then it's time to kick it off immediately. It's a proven fact that kids who are fed conveniently with milk feeder not only eat less but also are more prone to stomach infections, dental caries as well as their Hb levels may also be on the lower side. Milk is good for children but at the same time serving milk at the meal times will make the child eat less.
2. SPACING MEALS:
There should be enough gap between the meals. Fix the time for the meals. Daily fixed routine will stabilise their meals.
3. CHOOSE NUTRITIOUS FOOD:
Whenever the child is hungry feed him/her with nutritious food like fruits, sandwiches, eggs etc. instead of junk food like chips, cookies or colas.
Here is a list of some nutrient-dense foods that most children are willing to eat:
- Sweet potatoes
- Greek Yogurt
4. THE HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT:
It is the most important aspect while eating with your child. There should not be any distraction while eating. Sit and eat with your child. Never discuss your likes and dislikes in front of the child.
5. NEVER FORCE FEED THE CHILD:
If the child is hungry, he or she will ask for the food and then make judicious choices. The food should never be served as a reward or as a punishment. Talk positive about food.
6. INVOLVEMENT ACTIVITIES:
Small daily activities like buying vegetables or laying table mats on the dining table increases the interest of the child. The child now may try new foods as he/she is actively involved in the preparation.
7. CREATING INTEREST:
The thoughts of the children are very fluid. Telling them stories about food or getting them colouring books ignites passion and interest in food.
8. LET THE CHILD MESS:
This is age appropriate behaviour. Don't expect the child to be perfect with fork and knife. The child may mess with the food but that doesn't mean that we have to spoon feed them.
9. INTERESTING SHAPES AND SIZE:
Children are attracted to different shapes and sizes. Why not try star shaped paranthas with 2 eyes made up of olives and lips made up of tomato sauce? Oh Yummyy!
Even after all these efforts if the child is not growing according to his/her age, consult a paediatrician and for a well-balanced diet plan consult a dietitian.