Picky Eaters – It can get pretty taxing to handle them! Do you have a toddler or preschooler who refuses to eat healthy food? This is generally the case in many households. There are many reasons for this.
Why are kids, picky eaters?
Sometimes, parents are to be blamed for poor eating habits of a child. Working parents have no time to prepare nutritious meals for kids and end up serving them packaged food and drinks. Fast food like burgers and hot dogs, fizzy drinks, chocolate bars, fried snacks are kept within easy reach of children. As a result, the child does not wish to eat raw fruits and vegetables which are more nutritious than their packaged counterparts which have preservatives and are far from fresh.
Picky Eaters – How to handle them
Make food look attractive
Parents must make sure the child gets at least 3 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day. It does not take much time to serve chopped fruits topped with cream and a cherry. Remember, the more attractive you make food look, the better. You could serve a cheese-vegetable sandwich with a smiley ketchup face and call him Mr Smiley. I tried this and it worked!
Avoid large snacks before meals
Make sure kids do not eat a large snack before dinner. If they are very hungry you could serve them dinner a bit earlier. And if they ask for food later, you could hand over fruits instead. Tell them they can have only fruits or may be munch on some nuts(if not allergic to nuts) and be firm on that.
Story telling with fruits and veggies
Make kids aware of the importance of fruits and vegetables by telling them stories of fruits and vegetables where each fruit/ vegetable is a living character. You could find many stories online or in books.
Serve small meals at short intervals
Instead of having three large meals, serve smaller helpings at regular intervals. The child will not feel stuffed and will be willing to eat.
Flavor plain milk
Many children refuse to drink milk. You could flavor it with chocolate, strawberry, mango flavored nutritional supplements. If this does not work, make sure they have other dairy products like yogurt or cheese.
Be good yourself
Set a good example yourself. Kids learn from you. Make sure you eat salads, sprouts, fruits etc and set an example to your child. When kids in the neighborhood or at school fall sick, you can tell your child that it happened because those kids did not eat healthy food. This will show your child the importance of healthy food.
Avoid junk food
Do not buy junk food. Stock up on nuts and fresh fruits instead. you can show the child that this is not available and he can eat only what is available. Do not give in to tantrums and buy it from out. Let your child help with meal preparation. You could let your child do simple tasks like removing peas from pods, or rolling out small chapatis or tortillas. Let them do tasks that are not messy. When the food is done congratulate your child and encourage him to taste it.
Force feeding – Avoid it
Never ever force feed your child. Your child will begin to hate the very process of eating and will deliberately pretend to eat very slowly and may even hide food under the table. Be gentle and allow your child to finish his food. Follow these tips to make your child a healthy eater.
Practice patience along with these tips and see your child’s eating habits improve.