For parents, one of the most frustrating things is having a kid that just refuses to eat. Kids, of every age, just turn away their head, push their food away or cry their lungs out whenever you try to feed them. They won’t put anything in their mouths that they don’t want to. Therefore, it’s very important that parents are somewhat strict, from the very beginning, so that eating does not become a major issue, as they grow older. This article mentions a couple of reasons why your child may be a fussy eater and how you can simplify the whole process of feeding your child with healthy food.
Being a parent, it’s very hard to deny our kids anything they want, be it toys or fast food, but sometimes you need to put your foot down. Being a good parent doesn’t mean you always give your child whatever he/she demands but it means saying no to stuff that you know may not be good for them, even if they yell and throw tantrums. You need to say no to MC Donald’s or ice cream for lunch. This will ruin your child’s habit from a very young age and the older they become; the harder it becomes to make them eat. Get them in a habit of eating everything so that proper eating is not a major issue once they grow up.
A lot of kids are allergic to particular foods; hence, their diet is sort of restricted as they can only consume certain products. This means eating the same things over and over again with barely any gaps between days, so it’s only natural for the child to get fed up as their food becomes dull and boring. Kids with dairy and other food allergies tend to eat less and start hating most foods. What you can do is look out for recipes with alternatives for allergy causing ingredients. Yes, that can be done and there are plenty of cuisines you can create even for kids with food sensitivities.
They want what you eat
This is very common in kids as they idolize their parents and copy everything that they do. Observing their parents, most kids would always want to eat what adults and especially their parents are eating. Give them food in their plates and they won’t look at it, feed them the same thing out of your plate and they shall gobble it down without putting any fight. This is actually even better, you can make them eat some actual food by just keeping a less spicy and seasoned (if they like it that way) portion of the same food on your plate to make them eat something substantial.
What most parents may not take into consideration while feeding their child is that taste buds differ from person to person. So, what one kid may find delicious may not be liked by another child. It all makes sense now why some kids are so fond of food items such as vegetables and beef while some may have a strong liking towards eggs and chicken. For such children, figure out what they like and cook different varieties of healthful dishes out of them. You can secretly put some vegetables in that without making them feel they’re eating them.
You always give them an alternative
Kids aren’t as naïve as we think they are, they specialize in emotional blackmail. They know very well that their parents won’t let them go to bed, hungry. So, they try as hard as they can, to resist eating what their parents want them to consume and eventually, parents give in to their momentary hunger strike and provide junk food to not let them sleep on an empty stomach. You have to change that, let them go to bed hungry once or twice and tell them they have to eat what’s made at home and there’s no alternative — the third time, they’ll eat it. Plus, too much junk food isn’t good for their still developing system as hundreds of issues, such as food poisoning can arise as a result of excessive junk food consumption. If your kids really need such options and alternatives, then make sure that every option you give them has something nutritious and filling about it. If they love burgers, you can prepare that at home, drinks can be all refreshing, and there are plenty of healthy chips recipes out there.
Kids, these days, are so much into their gadgets, such as I pads, Play stations, Nintendo’s that they see eating as a waste of time. They’re constantly plugged into their hand held devices, from the time they come home from school, till the time they go to bed. Even if they do eat, they may only take a bite or two, just to get done with it. Later, when they’re actually hungry, they fill their stomachs with sodas and Cheetos because that’s convenient to eat while playing. What you can do to get these distractions out of your child’s way of eating on time is you can turn off the Wi-Fi when you’re feeding him/her. If that doesn’t serve as a solution, you can prepare some healthy snacks that he/she can effortlessly eat while watching TV or playing on his/her PlayStation.
Your child may not indulge in a lot of outdoor activity with other kids and thus, as a result, their appetite may be substantially small as compared to others. Kids who play outside tend to get hungry when they come back and they mostly eat anything you put in front of them. You can get their developing bodies moving with a bit of physical activity at home. Make your own interesting games if you don’t find them in stores. Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be a hardcore workout, anything that engages your child in any sort of physical activity, eventually making them hungry and wanting to eat something.
Toddlers, when they turn 2 or older, want to do everything as they wish, and show some degree of control on their parents. They want their parents to know that they have grown up and will not listen to everything they’re told to do, so they tend to act out occasionally and sometimes they may do this by not eating the food they’re offered. In such instances, or should we say struggles, you need to make your child understand that they are being heard but they have to eat in order to be strong and grow up. Never make it sound like an order, just give them a logical reason. If that doesn’t work you need to leave your kids be, without much options apart from what you have prepared for them. There definitely will come a time when they’ll have no choice apart from eating.
What to do if your child is a picky eater?
Balance out a meal
Whenever you prepare lunch, dinner or even a casual snack for him/her, make sure you offer them a little bit of variety. The main objective is not to get them to finish their veggies but so get them accustomed to the taste of healthy food. So, even if they take one bite of broccoli and leave the rest, that’s okay, because in the long term their taste buds will adjust to the taste and eventually they’ll start gobbling down those vegetables they once refused to even look at.
Make your dish creative
Kids are immensely attracted to creativity and visual presentation. If you present fruits and vegetables to them in a creative way with a bit of decoration, it might improve your chances of getting them to eat something. If you make some plain old dish interesting through the presentation, chances are, they might just eat it if because of how the food looks. So, why don’t you try this the next time? Cut up those vegetables and fruits up in a way to decorate the plate or make a unique design and you may just trick them into eating broccoli.
Appreciate their efforts
We’ve all been around children, so we know children often react well to some encouragement or appreciation. In fact, they crave for it, whenever they do anything their immediate response would be to look around for some encouragement. So hug them or kiss them, whenever they voluntarily go for foods they don’t generally eat and they may take a bite or two, just to please you.
This is one of the most effective ways. Make them a deal that they can have ice cream or some of their other favorite snack; if they finish everything on their plate otherwise they won’t get it. You’d be surprised to see how quickly they finish their lunch or dinner, just so they can enjoy that scoop of ice cream before going to bed! Kids are easy to manipulate and control, you just have to be smart about it.
If you go easy on your kids from a young age it will only backfire in the future, which is why it’s essential that you raise them right. Sometimes being a little strict may do the trick. All you have to do is keep feeding your child everything, including, vegetables and fruits, so that his/her taste buds conform to their taste as well. As they grow older they can eat whatever is put in front of them, if they eat everything when they are young.
Author Bio: Zyana Morris is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger who loves to write about prevailing trends. She is a featured author at various authoritative blogs in the health and fitness industry and currently working for Centra Care Kids, a Florida-based pediatric urgent care provider.