Food and Nutrition

Feeding problems? 8 ways to deal with a fussy eater

Swati Nitin Gupta
3 to 7 years

Created by Swati Nitin Gupta
Updated on Jul 10, 2017

Feeding problems 8 ways to deal with a fussy eater

Lack of proper nutrition is one of the major concerns of most of the moms. More so if your child happens to be a picky or fussy eater! Feeding such a child becomes difficult, as every meal time is an effort for the mother who remains worried that the child is not eating enough. However, we all know that force feeding is not an option. Then what is the solution? We spoke to few parents who have faced the challenge of feeding their fussy eaters. Here they share few of their experiences in how they handled their child.

What works!

1. Make the child taste the dish: If you can make your child to agree to even taste the dish you have prepared, I guess half your battle is won. In some cases that is the most difficult thing to do. Shikha Batra, mother of two beautiful girls says, “I have struck a deal with my daughters. The deal is that even if they don’t like they can’t express the same in front of their sibling. And have to tell me separately and the dish will not be forced.”  But the deal is to taste the food once and it becomes a fun secret between mommy and daughters.

 Ankita Talwar, mom to an adorable 4-year-old daughter says, “If I want my daughter to taste a new food, I promise her that in case she doesn’t like the dish I will not force her. And then I stand by my promise. So thankfully she is open to trying new foods and sometimes takes a liking to them as well.”

2. Introducing your child to vegetables: Now that’s interesting and what’s more intriguing is the fact that when the child is allowed to choose the veggies, he or she loves to eat them as well. For instance Swati from Panchkula says, “Whenever we go to buy vegetables, we take our son as well. He gets fascinated with so many colours like red carrots, green ladyfingers, purple brinjal, white radishes, and red, yellow and green bell peppers. So when we come home, he wants to taste them as well.” Isn’t it a tempting thought when your child wants to try new vegetables? Well then, one of the solutions is to get the child involved in the entire process to generate interest in food items. This is a great way of initiating the child to a variety of food items and gradually making her taste and finally eat them too.

3. Is food jag normal? Many parents are worried about their toddler's food jags because they are concerned that their child isn't taking in enough nutrients. This is among the most frustrating type of picky eating for parents. Food jag is an eating pattern in which your child gets stuck on a certain type of food everyday or consistently. One of the ways of looking at it is at least you have certain fallback food items the child wants to eat. Also, it is a great way to serve new items or give a twist to the regular food and introduce new food items through the food the child enjoys.

4. Revisiting the same food item in a different recipe: This is something that I try with my son as well and believe me it works. So when Neha Saroha said that if her daughter doesn’t like a particular food item, she doesn’t force her to eat but instead tries to use the same food item in a different recipe. Well, that’s easy! If your child doesn’t eat vegetable like bottle-gourd (lauki) then you may grate it, boil it and then add it to curd to make a raita. You may also knead the dough with it and make yummy paranthas for your fussy eater.

5. Interesting shapes and characters add to food’s appeal: A triangular shaped parantha would definitely be devoured instantly rather than the boring round parantha. And going by the words of these moms even the boring round parantha can be made interesting by adding smileys of cheese slices, or by jam and butter. Another parent and this time a father to an adorably cute son, Dr Deepak Solanki tells us about the tricks that his wife uses to tempt their son to eat food. Incidentally he also feels that shapes like triangle, circle, and square make for tempting patterns for a child to try out the food item. He adds, ‘We can use different spreads and toppings to create more alluring designs.’

6. Follow a routine: We all know that a child loves routine. However, as the child grows up we tend to forget this basic thing. “So let’s get back to basics and feed the child at proper time intervals instead of running behind the child after every two hours,” says Dr Solanki.

7. Trust and respect your child’s appetite: Well most of us (even I) have been guilty of this. As parents we feel that if our child has not eaten what has been on his or her plate he or she is hungry. However, do remember that the child will not starve himself or herself.

 So like Dr Solanki says, “Let them have their meal with the entire family and let them serve themselves. So that the portion served is according to their appetite. And if they finish what they had on their plate then respect it and don’t run after them after two hours thinking that they are hungry, because they are not.” As experts say each child has her or his own appetite.

8. Keep them engaged elsewhere:  Well, this is the last resort and should not be followed on a regular basis. The idea is to get the child interested in eating and food, and not feed the child things which she is not even aware of. Neha Saroha, a mother of a baby girl says, “When she was a toddler I used to keep her engaged in different activities while feeding her new dishes to her. Fortunately she ate everything and gradually started liking them as well.”

But as a mom myself I don’t think this strategy worked in creating either a liking for the particular dish or developing a taste for that food.

What doesn’t work!

1. Force Feeding: Force feeding is not recommended, as that would achieve nothing. Forcing a child to eat also leads to mealtime becoming a battle ground and chances are that your fussy eater will start avoiding the food altogether. So the vicious circle of avoiding the food will never end.

2. Giving them choices: Once you start giving them choices, children will definitely take advantage of it. So if there is something that they don’t like they will definitely opt for something that they would prefer to eat rather than eat what has been prepared.

So if you also have a fussy eater at home and are worried about his or her eating habits then hope these pointers from some of the parents help you to resolve the issue.  

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| Feb 18, 2018

thank u very much swati will surely try to do them.

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| Feb 18, 2018

thank u very much swati will surely try to do them.

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| Feb 18, 2018

thank u very much swati will surely try to do them.

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| Feb 18, 2018

thank u very much swati will surely try to do them.

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| Feb 18, 2018

thank u very much swathi will surely try to do them.

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| Oct 07, 2017

thank you very much i will try

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| Oct 07, 2017

thank you very much i will try

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| Sep 12, 2017

Thanku so much for this blog.

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| Aug 29, 2017

thanks mam to share such a good information

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| Aug 29, 2017

thanks mam to share such a good information

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| Jul 21, 2017

Thanks for sharing very Informative blog. I do agree with Dr. Solanki... kids don't starve themselves . they too have their own. appetite like an Adult n they know when to stop n eat. it's just that we as a parent need to trust them...

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| Jul 19, 2017

Nice

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| Jul 18, 2017

Good ideas, surely works

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| Jul 15, 2017

nice

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| Jul 15, 2017

good ideas. surely follow it

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| Jul 13, 2017

Thanks it's very informative and usefull tips.

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| Jul 12, 2017

makes sense.

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| Jul 11, 2017

superb

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| Jul 10, 2017

thanks Swati. this blog information is very useful for me as my 5yrs old daughter is very choosy. Nd for me it's a battle to make her food finish. i am definitely going to use these tips .

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| Apr 04, 2017

thanks for the relevant information but my child is 3 now n I done a mistake of giving her choices. how to remove this now

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| Mar 30, 2017

Thank you so much Swathi for posting this info. it is really helpful for me. I will definitely follow.

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| Mar 06, 2017

He wasnt a fussy eater... But turning into one... N after reading this blog... I realized what mistake i have been making... Will surely try these tips n tricks :) thanx :)

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| Mar 06, 2017

brilliant piece of work Swati! I am sure this should help all parents and keep their anxiety at bay. keep writing!

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| Dec 28, 2016

I guess fussy eaters is a concern with every new age mum. Every second mum I meet has the same complaint-- my child has no interest in food what to do. I guess this blog will be able to solve many such problems.

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| Sep 06, 2016

very nice tricks

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| Sep 05, 2016

thanx alot

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| Aug 12, 2016

thnx a tons

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| Jun 23, 2016

Thanks a lot, it helps me to take care of my sons,s diet.

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| Jun 22, 2016

Real time solutions from real parents. Thank you Swati for an interesting blog on fussy eaters.

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