Is Your Child a Fussy Eater?
Anyone of us can be a fussy eater at any time. It can start from childhood, teenage years, or adulthood. Whether it be a toddler refusing to eat food you have prepared, childhood obesity crisis or a phobia of food.
If you are a parent, you may know that sometimes children will prefer to eat sweets, chocolate, cake and other sugary stuff. The problem with this is, the unhealthy eating habits can stick around and lead to health problems, such as diabetes, later on as they approach puberty. As they become more sedentary, focusing on studying, your adolescent may gain weight. Then the problem will leech into self-image and may leave a distorted body depiction in their mind for some time.
We all have our own expectations of magical family meal times with the children sitting nicely and eating away until the plate is empty. But, when you present a certain food to a child, they will see it, smell it and taste a tiny bit. If it doesn’t pass their stringent tests, they will push it away or throw it back in your face. They would rather go hungry until they can get their hands onto something sweeter or more comforting. Breakfast time can become a tense moment and the dinner table may become a theatre of messy confrontation. Don’t give in.
You may have a backup plan to avoid this situation. You may be:
- offering new foods with no pressure to eat,
- trying a new settings e.g a picnic in the garden or tea party with their favourite teddy bears,
- tell stories as you feed your child,
- giving the food fun names
- getting your child involved in the cooking or preparing process
- prepare the same food, but in a different way e.g carrots three ways: sliced sticks, grated and coated in olive oil and lemon dressing, or roasted.
Your toddler may not eat much in a single meal, or in one day. So, remember that your little one has a small stomach and it’s better to reflect on what she/he eats over the progression of the week.
A normal part of their development, around the age of two, is to go through a phase of just eating a few particular foods. This is because they start to get scared to try new foods, especially if they can’t recognise it or it looks like something toxic. Many toddlers experience this. Try not to worry, this is a phase, and it passes fairly quickly once their confidence in your cooking skills builds up.
You can help by staying positive and verbally rewarding good eating skills. A variety of fresh, organic homemade style prepared food is a great way to get your child into healthy eating habits from the start and prevent your child from becoming obese later on.