Picky Eater? No Worries!! Here Are Some Suggestions Basis My Experience
Picky Eater? -Mine too!!!
Well, it’s a Mealtime anytime soon, and you are dreading it because you have a picky eater at home. You are thinking about what to cook for the little one or feed the same food as made for the family. What if she upright rejects it, and you, either are angry or just sobbing silently. Mealtime is stressful for many parents and also the kids.
We all have or know atleast one kid who is very selective about what they eat or eat an inadequate variety of food, called a fussy eater or a picky eater.
My Older Kid, 5 years, Is The One!!
She outright denies both familiar and unfamiliar food. I offered a variety of food but to no avail. She used to gag as soon as a spoonful of the meal went into her mouth. I am guilty of force-feeding her many times and giving her screentime just to distract her from food, Only to throw up during or after mealtime. Oh! How naive I was!! She cried whenever I bought a meal for her, and I felt like a total failure as a Mom.
I am also guilty of giving her Maggi at a tender age of just 2 years. Something is better than Nothing!! I panicked when her growth rate was very less as compared to her peers or according to the charts. I gave her ‘n’ several tonics and also herbal medicines (with prescription). Also did ‘Nazar utharo’, even though I didn’t believe much in it. But Nothing worked. She used to sense my frustration and start crying. At one point, she developed Food aversion, which is a dangerous condition for kids so young. At that point, I realized, Nothing would help us, but only Time would. Since She was below average, that triggered a panic in the mother present in me.
I did extensive research, and I asked and followed many suggestions and advice from many experts & other mothers.
Here Are Some Tried & Tested Tips For Parents of Picky Eaters
AND YES, they did work for me.
Made her eat at least one meal with family. This helped her identify our traditional foods. She tried them, maybe 2 or 3 spoonfuls, but it was a big change in her. And also, One less meal (kids) preparation for me. Here are some Must-Have Feeding Essentials to Make Your Baby’s Mealtime Fun & Exciting.
It was okay if she skipped a meal. I stopped making a fuss about it. It’s good that she could make a decision and listen to her body.
No Bribing, Praising
Yes, I stopped her bribing desserts and also stopped praising her when she finished her meal. To my surprise, she started respecting her meal.
Never Give Up
I introduced new foods every now & then, a few foods she liked immediately, a few she rejected upright. But I never gave up; I kept introducing it to her until she developed a taste for it. I changed the flavour a few times and sometimes made it spicy, sweet or salt. Kept changing the textures too. Ex: if it’s veggies, it’s either paratha, dosa or bhajis.
Variety Is Mighty
As mentioned, I kept on introducing a variety range of veggies and fruits. One item a week. Once I overdid it, she did not eat that food for the next 2 weeks. (Oops)
No, I dont mean playing with it. Just making different kinds of shapes and colours to keep her interested.
I asked her every night what she would like for the next day’s breakfast. We listed out her favourites, and it was there in her meal atleast once a day. We literally designed a food menu just for her & in turn, made other members eat. When everyone said it was her menu n it was absolutely delicious, she was thrilled to start new food menus.
Yayyyy!!! Well, veg n fruits shopping. Took her along to get veggies & other meal items. She was so absorbed in it that she started trying it. We shopped, cleaned & organized all items together. Even while making chapathis too. Oh, A Tiny chef!! & Yes, my kitchen was a mess but a satisfactory one. Just involved her in everything she was interested in. Check out this 7 picky eater products parents swear by.
No, not the military one!! Sometimes, hid the veggies she absolutely hated in her food. Like peas, mashed them into paranthas or sneaked them into pulao. Putting cheese over roasted veggies, and so on.
Well, my kid drinks milk without fuss, but I limit it to 150 ml a day. Instead, give her other dairy products like curds, paneer, and so on for calcium requirements.
She still is a slow eater, but it’s okay, I tell myself, because I know we both have come a long way, and this can be compromised.
Try not to let your child fill up on drinks or snacks before introducing new foods. She’s more likely to try food if she’s hungry and doesn’t have the option of something else to eat. When possible, look for opportunities for your child to share meals and snacks with other children – she might be more willing to try a food if other children enjoy eating it.
Ultimately You will need loads of PATIENCE & TIME to make your kiddo eat without fuss.
But Please REMEMBER, if you are concerned about your kid’s growth rate and overall development, it’s worth talking to the paediatrician. IF any underlying problems, they’ll be addressed. Fussy eating is often just a normal development phase in toddlers till teens. And also, remember that your child’s eating habits won’t likely change overnight, and small steps like the above will help a healthy eating lifestyle in future. When you read this, all these may sound like a battle, but ask any picky eater’s Mom; she’ll tell you her daily battles.