How to Induce Positive Eating Habits in Your Child?
Created by Vandana Prakash Updated on Sep 10, 2019
Fussy eating is a war for parents. Parenting itself is a tough journey and the most difficult part is feeding a fussy eater child. However, with some tactics, we can still win this war. There are many nursery rhymes, but you would agree that the one which resonates the most with us moms is “ Johny Johny Yes Mumma, Eating Food, No Mumma…”
I am Vandana, a hands-on mom, talks about the types and tendencies of picking eater children and shares some noteworthy tactics to help feed picky eater children. My son has been a picky/fussy eater, exactly like the way I was, and I have been struggling with this problem since he was two years old...and to be honest, I am still struggling. But, there are lots of techniques that I have learned in my parenting journey to help my child eat with joy. Before sharing those methods with you, it is worthwhile to note that there are two kinds of children -
- one who is fussy and
- other, neophobic
Fussy (or picky) eaters reject both familiar and unfamiliar food. Neophobia, on the other hand, is the fear of trying new foods and such kids only reject unfamiliar foods.
Ways to Instil Positive Eating Habits in Children
Children, generally tend to show this tendency of picky eating after their first birthday. For them, eating food is the most boring and dull activity amongst the more active ones such as running around, jumping, and playing. While eating, they would reject certain foods and prefer something which is easy for them to chew - so that eating takes less time and they get to play more. Things start getting worse as they enter play school and refuse routine, eating habits.
From my personal experiences, sharing below 6 strategies to help you deal with fussy eating -
#1. Try Hide & Seek
Your goal is to ensure that your child has a balanced diet. So, instead of serving chapati and vegetables separately, try hiding the veggies inside the paratha and serve vegetable paratha, or vegetable uttapam, dal paratha, egg roll, etc.
#2. TV & Mobile Are Your Enemies
Don’t be too happy if your child ate a lot of food while being distracted by TV/phone. This way, they don’t really understand the taste of certain foods and so, they might refuse to eat this the very next day. Try to help your child develop a taste for the food that you serve. Instead of TV/mobile, try storytelling - it has worked great for me!
#3. Small Parts Can Make a Big Difference
I usually tend to avoid force-feeding my child in one single go. Instead, I prefer giving him small portions of meals at regular intervals. In this way, he is able to eat and play together.
#4. Snacking Might Be a Bad Idea
Avoid giving snacks before their meals. Even if your child asks for biscuits /cookies, or cakes, try to distract them. Let them feel a little hungry before their main meal and then offer the food that you want to feed them.
#5. Observation Is Education
Kids are very good at observation, followed by imitation. They try to imitate everything they observe. So, instead of feeding your child separately, try having a meal time with the family. Have them sit with you and eat along with them. This way, they learn eating everything you eat on a regular basis.
#6. Try Being Creative
It’s a real bummer when you work hard to cook something healthy for your child and they refuse to eat it. But, don’t you worry, our creativity can come to the rescue! Try making their food fun and colorful by adding veggies like chopped carrots and beans. You could also try making a star-shaped sandwich or smiley and eyes over idli, with sauce. Don’t hesitate to try different ideas!
Last but not least,
Scream, shout, or cry, but do not give up! Mothers are always on duty and giving up is never a solution. Help them have a healthy, balanced diet and keep trying new recipes. You never know when your child starts liking the taste of certain food and would love to eat it happily.