6 Ways Parents Make Children Picky Eaters?
Is your child a picky eater? Are you constantly wondering on how to get your child to eat well?
PICKY EATING is definitely the most talked about topic once we become parents, and it really is frustrating at times for parents when they feel they have come to a point when they are clueless on how to go about it.
But the truth is picky eating is the most normal rite of passage which most kids indulge in, at different phases of their life. Of the many things that can annoy parents, their children’s eating habits often feature highest on the list!
While it is so easy to blame the child for unhealthy and picky eating, this type of behavior is in reality, fostered at home.
Healthy eating should start young. It makes no sense pushing only the child to eat healthy, the entire family needs to make dietary and lifestyle changes to achieve this. As we all know children learn everything by observation.
What Parents Are Doing Wrong And How It Can be Solved?
1. Overdoing The Importance Of Mealtimes
Hunger is one of the most powerful human driver. If a child is very hungry, she will eat. This does not mean you have to starve your child; it just means you need to serve them food when they are hungry. Put a spoonful of everything the family is having on her plate, eat together as a family. Say a few good things about the food being served, how carrots are good for the eyes, or even how the eggplant came from a beautiful farm etc. You can look at books with pictures of fruits/ veggies and other healthy foods and decide together to cook some of them at home.
Don’t overdo it because children can sniff out fraud from a mile away. Be normal and eat your food and expect them to do the same thing.
2. Deciding How Much Your Child Eats
It is a common sight to see young children become finicky about food after they turn 1 year old. The most awesome eaters turn into children who seem to follow some kind of trend quickly!
Of course, as parents we worry about this. The truth is, we parents worry about many things all the time! But remember, if your child is eating much lesser than he used to before he or she was at one year of age, but their growth rate is on target as per the doctor, please don’t fret.
We as parents have fixed perceptions of how much our children should eat, and most of the time completely ignore their pleas when they say they have had enough. Piling your kids plate with food and force-feeding them is never a good thing. Use your child’s appetite to your advantage to introduce new foods. Don’t scare them off with large quantities and achieving a clean plate always. It is proven that smaller portions work better than large ones.
3. Parents Focus Too Much On Tasty Foods
Parents these days are constantly rummaging through cookbooks with delicious ‘kid-friendly’ recipes to try out for their children. They yearn for their kids to eat healthy foods and end up making cakes and muffins with fruit and veggies sneaked into it. This, without even offering these fruits and vegetables to them as is and giving them a chance to explore the unique flavors and textures of the same.
As parents, we must constantly communicate to our children the importance of the different foods offered to them, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Children may not accept this or even try it out immediately but will understand it eventually. Here, patience is the expected word. It is okay for a 3 year old to not eat all the fruits or veggies offered to him/her. But keep talking about how good it is if they begin to eat it.
Do not always focus on making everything taste good, because most of the time enhancing tastes are done by adding unhealthy sugars and fats which in the long run can only prove harmful.
4. Inability To Add A Variety Of Colorful Foods And Flavors Throughout The Day
New colors, tastes and textures can be introduced while making the food appealing and fun for your child. These days, we as parents have become very finicky when it comes to letting our children explore with new colors, flavors and textures and are always paranoid about allergies.
It is important to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods. We often get used to eating just the foods we like, that are familiar and that we find easy to buy and cook. Vegetables and fruit have a wide range of beautiful colors and textures. All we need to do is choose widely, prepare very simply and arrange creatively, for quick and easy delicious meals. Choose mostly from what’s in season and you’ll be amazed at how much it will help your children to love their food.
5. Too Many Opinions Sought
Instead of always asking your child what he wants to eat, serve a wide range of meals and make sure to include foods you know she will eat. Pairing favorite foods with new foods can help your child feel safer to try out a new food. Try to eat as a family so you can model enjoying different dishes.
6. Frequent Snacking
We often come across parents serving unhealthy munchies to their children to keep their hunger at bay. This has only proven to be harmful. Serve snacks and meals on a consistent schedule so your child knows when to expect the next one, and offer water if he complains of hunger in the meantime. Don’t offer any snacks an hour mealtimes to preserve his appetite.
When it comes to helping a child get through the picky eating phase, think long-term. Help your child tune in to his hunger and look at food as something that helps his body do the things he really likes to do. Please remember, it is totally normal to feel frustrated by your child’s stubbornness, but do your best to be patient and play it low. Take time to understand your child’s problems and address them appropriately. This will in turn lead to less mealtime tension for the whole family.