Are you tired of tantrums and worried about the incomplete nutrition of your child? If yes, then glance through the article below to find its solution.
Faddy eating of children is a source of stress for nearly all parents. It is commonly seen among toddlers. Fussy eating is one of the feeding difficulties in which there is either a denial to consume familiar foods or try new food options. Picky eaters also have strong preferences for food. Almost half of them turn down tasting a new food half of the time. It is typical because toddlers need less food to grow than newborns, as their growth is comparatively slower than babies. Hence, children may not be able to eat properly at mealtimes or may directly refuse to eat something. But, do not worry about it. Consider their eating patterns over a long period, like a week. If a child has optimal body weight and performs activities at an average pace, he is said to be physically growing normally.
Fussy eating habits result in a poor diet and incomplete nutrition in children. A child's diet should consist of all the macronutrients in their appropriate amounts. Having correct eating patterns and habits is vital for the child's overall growth and development and prevents health issues in the future. However, each child is different and has a distinct taste and liking or disliking for a particular food. So, a standard diet plan cannot be applied to all. Instead, a customized one is required. Making the child aware of the various foods available around him helps to identify and recognize his soft spots, and these should be paid heed to while preparing his meals. A toddler's dietary habits can be modified as taking small feeds daily with an interval of three hours, along with two snacks in between the meals.
Several methods can be used to overcome fussy eating in children. They are as follows:
Incorporate Variety in the Kid’s Diet: Children do not like to eat the same foods daily. For example, if you give your child a gourd every day, he might get bored of it and start developing hatred toward that food. Introducing a variety in your kid's diet is essential so that your child does not feel mealtimes are boring. You can include wraps instead of the regular chapati with vegetables. It looks more attractive to a kid than eating a regular chapati.
Include Iron and Calcium-Rich Foods in the Diet: Iron helps to increase a child's appetite. Lack of iron leads to lethargy and restlessness. It also helps to boost their memory power and help them perform well in academics. Iron can be obtained from sources like green leafy vegetables and nonvegetarian foods. Garden cress seeds are rich in iron too. They can be powdered and added to vegetables and given to children. Dates that are a perfect source of iron can be added to smoothies to replace refined sugars. Calcium is necessary to build and strengthen bones. It is found in milk and milk products like curd, cottage cheese, greens, fish, etc.
Add Enough Protein to the Child’s Diet: Protein is mainly required for growth. Its deficiency may lead to malnutrition in the child, retardation of growth, slow mental development, and hair loss. Good protein sources are nuts, eggs, whole milk, milk products, pulses, chicken, fish, and nuts.
Ensure Foods Rich in Antioxidants in Your Kid's Diet: Antioxidants are present in fruits and vegetables, which protect your kid from diseases. Insufficient antioxidants in the diet may make your child easily prone to infections. For fussy kids, milkshakes can be introduced into the diet with a garnish like cherry, which might fascinate the child. Vegetables can be presented in cutlets (patties) in different shapes like triangles, star-shaped, heart-shaped, etc., which many kids love. Sweet potato, which is dense in nutrients, can be included in your kid's diet as it seems to be the favorite among kids.
Give a Boost of Probiotics to the Diet: Probiotics help keep the gut flora healthy by destroying harmful microbes and enhancing the growth of the beneficial ones. Good gut muscle integrity is needed for normal digestion and to avoid various infections caused due to different bacteria and viruses. Greek yogurt can be consumed by fussy eaters who have a sweet tooth.
Involve children in the cooking process as it generates excitement in them, and they are more likely to eat the food as they are involved in the preparation.
Provide the same food to the child as you or your family eats. But omit salt and other spices in your kid's feed.
Eating is a social event, so the entire family, or at least you, should eat with your child as frequently as possible.
Children like to emulate their parents or others around them. So, introduce them to new food items when you or other family members dine with them.
Serving small portions of food to your child and giving him appraisals on finishing up the food.
Children modify their tastes frequently, so it is very likely for them to reject a particular food at a time and accept it later. Therefore, when they turn down the food, please do not force them. Instead, try it shortly.
Know your child's eating pace. Do not leave the table until your child has finished eating or is too tired to eat.
Do not include several snacks in between your kid's meals. Two healthy snacks are enough for the day.
Avoid using food as a reward. Your child may consider sweets as good food and vegetables as bad. Instead, other reward options can be used as a trip to a park.
Prevent making the mealtimes boring and add on them with some chats and discussions.
If other children of your child's age are good eaters, invite them often to your home over meals to dine with your kid.
Modify or change the serving of the food, like your kid may dislike sliced potatoes but may enjoy having them mashed or grated.
Fussy eating is normal in children, and it can be tackled by adopting various techniques in the diet. However, it is imperative to recognize it and treat it early to avoid the consequences of incomplete nutrition and poor health for your child.
Last reviewed at:
23 Apr 2022 - 4 min read
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