Every mother has found herself saying, “EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!” This “motherly wisdom” never goes out of fashion because one thing that almost all children resent is VEGETABLES!
You know it’s imperative for your kid to eat their veggies for the healthy growth. So, how do you get them to eat the healthy food, without making a fuss every time?
Today, let’s get a fresher perspective on our children’s eating habits.
Is your child a picky eater?
If your child is a picky eater, don’t blame it all on their “attitude”. Here’s a list of underlying issues affecting your child’s eating habits –
- Simply not Hungry
After the age of two, the appetite does change. Some days, they could be clearing everything and some days they might be very selective and eat less. Forcing them to eat some quantity may not work in their best interest.
- Too many snacks in between meals
The child maybe be snacking a lot in between or having too many liquids (milk, juices) which can keep them full and eat less during main meal time.
- Under Pressure
You could be using negative reinforcement which can make your kid feel pressurized and scared. One these negative emotions replace the happiness of food, then the kid will outright refuse to eat because of the emotional toll.
- Have No Say in the Making of the Meal
Your kid is his/her own person and would like to have a say in what they want. They could feel like they have absolutely no control or power over anything that is put on their plate and this can make them rebellious.
- Boredom from Repetitive Food
Anyone can get bored with the monotonous food. Eating the same dish every day or very often can get very boring for the kids and they might also get repulsed by that very food.
Maybe there’s a lot going around the kids which makes them want to not pay attention to the food and pay attention to the distraction. The increased screen time (phone/T.V., Computer) is a major culprit in distracting kids from food.
- Big Portions / Servings
Did your kid over ate during the last meal? This could mean slow digestion and tummy being full for longer.
There could be an underlying illness affecting your child’s appetite. Get them to their doctor at first if this picky eating continues for long.
Here’s how you can make them eat
Let’s face it – Age old tricks or solutions don’t work with kids anymore. The new generation kids are smarter and have their own personality from day 1. So no scolding, tricking, bribing or pleading is going to work. Here are some ways that can help your child love the food they eat and not be so picky –
- Make food taste delicious and introduce new recipes for the same vegetables. It brings variety to the plate.
- Slowly introduce new (non-tasty) food with loved foods. Do not bomb them with a new platter altogether.
- Do not pressurize or force the kid always to have something they don’t like. This will only make them rebellious. Instead, introduce them to those foods off the plate – educate them about its nutritional value or take them food shopping.
- Don’t give up easily on making the kid eat healthy. Take time and be very patient as they can get very stubborn and waste a lot of food. But it is important for you to stay patient and persistent.
- Involve them in meal planning and making of the food. Let them set their routine and encourage them if they add 1 or 2 desserts/ chocolates in a week. In this way they will feel more responsible and make healthy choices.
- Portion Control is another way to make sure your kid’s food is digested till the next meal time
- Controlled Snacking ensures your kid doesn’t over eat randomly between meals
- Lead by Example to inspire your kid!
All said, you also must accept the fact that just the way we do not feel like sticking to our diet plan and have our cheat days, so will kids. There will be times when the kid gets a craving for one particular food only and may randomly grow out of one food one fine day. And that’s okay. In their formative years, we just have to ensure they good enough nutrition to build a healthy and strong foundation. Being too strict will only take away the fun. So remember to have a good plan and stick to it as much as possible but if you or your child deviate from it on some days, it’s fine.