Ideas for Parents to Cope with Baby’s Fussy Eating Habits

At the outset, fussy or picky eating kids may have a behavioural problem that needs to be tackled. Or it may be that the dining table becomes a battleground with parents on one side and kids on the other, and each side is making it a tug of war in which one will win, and the other loses. Or it may result in screaming matches between parents and children. If you don’t want your family to be like that, here is what you can do.

Starting in Infancy

When your baby moves on to solid foods, and according to medical advice, offer him or her all the vegetables possible (starting with the easy-to-digest ones) so that he develops a taste for them. This way, there are fewer chances of his becoming a picky eater in the first place. And as soon as he is old enough, let him partake of adult meals. If you offer healthy food choices, you should not have kids developing a problem unless

a) they hear adults talk of their dislike of particular foods or

b) they hear siblings or friends talk of the same or

c) you don’t cook some foods.

The Older Kid

However, if your kid is already into temper tantrums regarding food, you have a problem with your hands. You might be finding yourself cajoling and even threatening the kid or even sending him to bed hungry, which will eventually end with guilt feelings on both sides. Alternatively, you may make food he wants or try to sneak vegetables and fruits into his food disguised as puree, soup and the like. However, this does not solve the problem in the long run.

The Kid Who Does Not Eat Proper Meals

If your kid is snacking the whole day long, particularly on unhealthy food options, fast foods and more, remember, you are responsible for giving him the habit of doing so. Pizzas and burgers should be had rarely and never routinely. While biscuits, noodles, and milk may seem like a quick option when a kid is hungry, it is not a great food choice and should never be a habit. A homemade milkshake made with fruit is a better snack, along with some small snacks that should not be made of refined or processed foods or fried.

If your kid fills himself with snacks, fried foods, aerated waters and the like, he may not be hungry at meal time, so be careful of how much and when he eats. For quick and easy snacking, offer fresh-cut fruits, sandwiches made of brown or multi-grain pieces of bread, and dried fruits and nuts.

Involving Kids in the Buying of Food

It is a good idea to involve kids in buying food items: you can take them grocery shopping from infancy, and they will also learn how to buy food. You can show the fruits and vegetables, talk about them, make them feel and smell them (when they are older) and this way the whole shopping will be a learning experience for them.

Growing Foods

If you place a garden or a kitchen garden, perhaps you could take your children’s help in growing fruits, vegetables or herbs. This will help them in the process and also teach them how things develop. And if you don’t have space, you can still do stuff at home, like making sprouts or legumes and seeds and cooking them appetising. This will be healthy as well.

Older Children Helping in the Kitchen

You can actively seek the help of older children in the kitchen – it can start by laying out the table and graduate to making salads and other cold foods. Once they are in a position to do so, you can supervise them cutting vegetables, whether with a knife or a kitchen gadget. Older children can be taught how to use an oven or microwave and stovetop cooking once they are sure they can take care of themselves because the kitchen is full of potential danger.

Not Forcing Food on Children

If your child adamantly refuses to eat any particular food, no matter how it is cooked, leave it and don’t make it an issue. As long as he is eating a balanced diet overall and his growth patterns are within the expected parameters, it does not matter. And you should not concentrate on a daily balanced diet but a weekly one.

Above all, avoid threatening, bribing and cajoling kids into eating foods. Bribing here also includes ‘if you don’t eat your vegetables, you won’t get any dessert’ or ‘eat this food and tomorrow you can get pizza’. Be positive and don’t get emotional and aggressive, and don’t say, ‘you have to eat such and such because it is good for you’ because the child associates healthy eating with an unpalatable taste.

Eating is About Control

Kids learn from a young age that eating or not eating is all about control. And they want to control you more than you do! To avoid this ‘control’ battle, once a child is old enough, offer him choices of healthy foods before they are cooked, so the child feels that he has control over what he eats – this way, both of you are happy. Give them a treat from time to time with surprise online cake delivery in coimbatore.

Make meal time a family activity without distraction apart from family conversations like television viewing. Otherwise, necessary family bonding time gets lost. And if your child is too small to eat with you or has to sleep early, make it a point to eat whichever meals possible together, even on weekends. Remember, the earlier you start, the easier it will be for you and your children to adopt healthy eating habits.

Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar is a Digital Marketing Strategist in a leading organisation. A creative marketing strategist with over 8 years of experience developing digital marketing strategies and guiding business development