Having a fussy-eater at home can be pretty frustrating at times, especially for the mothers who hardly get any spare time to spend. But it is actually quite normal for toddlers and preschoolers to be picky about food items. They may like one food one day and express utter disgust for it the very next day.
Even though it can get very tiring for parents to convince their child to accept new food items, they must keep trying for the sake of their child’s healthy development. Here are 5 ways you can handle your child’s fussy eating and help him develop healthy eating habits:
1. Never force them
In these growing years, your child’s appetite will keep changing frequently. Do not insist on finishing the entire serving of meal or snack if your child keeps repeating that he is not hungry. Encourage them to eat their meals as much as they can and appreciate if they do finish their plates completely. But you should never force your kid to try a new food or bribe them to eat a full plate. Stick to a small quantity or serving of food at regular intervals instead and allow your child to enjoy the food. Do not let your happy mealtimes convert to the battles of power over food.
2. Plan the snack timings
The most probable cause of your child’s loss of appetite is that he is not hungry. Your child has a tiny tummy which can only hold so much food. The snacks or juices that they keep having in between meals can easily fill their tummy, leaving no space for the healthy meals you prepare for them. Make sure to leave a gap of at least 2 hours in between their snack time and mealtime. Prepare a meal plan or schedule and try to stick to it. Also, in order to ensure optimum nutrition intake, make their snacks nutrient-dense too. Children’s favourite and easy to cook, Nestlé CEREGROW is fortified with 15 essential Vitamins and Minerals like Iron, Vitamin A, C, D etc. which can be the ultimate healthy snack for your little one.
3. Let this be a routine
An easy way to help them develop the habit of eating healthy is by sticking to a routine that includes healthy meals at a regular interval. Your child will surely protest at first but once he realizes that this is going to be an everyday scene, he will start accepting it. You can include a healthy snack such as a fruit salad or a bowl of CEREGROW, in between two meals to make sure he gets his nutrition even if he skips a meal. In order for you to help your kid get used to it and make it a habit, add at least one new food to his menu everyday.
4. Say “no” to multiple options
How can you expect your little fussy eater to eat the healthy but boring dish you prepared, if he knows that you have also prepared chicken nuggets? Of course, he will stuff his tummy only with the chicken nuggets. Therefore, if you want your child to develop healthy eating habits, do not give them multiple choices to choose from at the dinner table. Stick to a simple menu that everyone in the family can enjoy and even if your picky-eater refuses to eat, do not offer him any alternatives.
5. Sit and eat together
Monkey see monkey do! Children learn from others around them. Make sure you always sit together during the meal times and eat with them. When your child will see you enjoying your food, they will get inspired to try it too. If your little one has an older sibling, involve him in the act as well. The younger one will mimic his elder brother and even if he doesn’t like the taste of the new food, he’ll be tempted to eat it.