A common problem that mothers have to deal with, on a day to day basis, is to feed children who are fussy about eating food. This is a concern shared with me by many of my clients. Here are some tips to deal with a fussy eater:
• First and foremost, a strict no to force-feeding
• Serve a meal or a snack at the same time every day, stick to a routine
• Start with small portions of food. Gradually introduce new foods but in small quantities
• Try and be creative and make eating a fun activity for your child
• We all eat through our eyes as well, so adding variety by choosing bright coloured foods, mixing different textures will make the food more appealing
• Combine one non-favourite food with a favourite food. Introduce one food at a time
• Set a good example, there is enough evidence to prove that children are a reflection of their parents. If you eat a healthy well-balanced diet, children are likely to follow
• Try and minimize distractions especially from gadgets or TV and encourage mindful eating. It may be challenging in the beginning but it would be worth the effort in the long run. Engage your child in other activities like building blocks or playing board games or solving a puzzle.
• Try and keep the mealtime short – not more than 15-20 minutes – as post that your brain, anyway, sends a message indicating satiety, that one is full.
• One needs to redefine desserts as fruit stews, yoghurts or other healthier choices and avoid using chocolates or sweets as a reward
• Involve children in deciding and preparing their meals or snacks.
• It’s fine to let them indulge once or twice a week and give in to their demands but then try to strike a balance during rest of the week.
• Be patient and calm. Also, eat first and then feed your child, you will be more patient with her/him and less irritable too.
• Lesser the fuss one makes while eating the better it is. Children are very observant and understand and emulate their parent’s reactions
• One must encourage independent feeding and be tolerant towards mess. Serve age-appropriate foods, keep a sheet under their plate and allow them to make a little mess
• Make mealtime a family affair to promote good, healthy eating practices.
- Encourage children to try out new foods and allow them to eat at restaurants once in a while
- Remember that your child’s eating habits will not change overnight but small steps taken will definitely help in leading a healthier lifestyle.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.