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Is Your Child A Picky Eater? Know How To Deal With It

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 06 October 2022, Updated on - 18 October 2022

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Young kids usually go through stages wherein they refuse to eat certain foods, prefer a limited choice of foods, or are easily distracted at mealtimes. They may make their own food choices to show their independence. Commonly known as picky eaters or fussy eaters, these kids may develop nutritional deficiencies. Studies suggest that picky eating is a state where children consume an inadequate variety of foods by rejecting a large proportion of known (as well as new) foods. Let's learn the techniques to deal with your fussy eater child.

Tips to deal with a child who is a picky eater

1. Encourage your kid to taste new food on a regular basis

A child may have to taste food multiple times before they learn to like it. So, even if your child initially rejects meals, encourage them to try them again. Your fussy eater toddler will first refuse, but if you allow them to eat the same dish several times, they will taste it. At first, they might not enjoy the food, but with time, they will develop a taste for it. Additionally, you can cook the same dish in many ways, so your child might enjoy one of the recipes.

2. Be friendlier with your child

Punishing, scolding, or threatening your child will make them less likely to eat the food they are already rejecting. However, if you try to motivate them, give them compliments, or do things that make them happy, they will gradually learn to like that food. In addition, they might enjoy trying new dishes. Punishing your youngster for refusing to try new meals can make them dislike these dishes even more. If your child refuses to eat it, take it away quietly and offer it to them later.

3. Follow your child's interests

It's common in the case of picky eaters that they don't enjoy the flavour, appearance, colour, or texture of specific meals. So, you can try to present food in different ways; for example, cut the typical sandwich into exciting shapes or draw a smile with ketchup on their plate, etc. to lure them. Your child might be excited to try it.

picky eater

4. Be patient while the child changes their habits

You can begin by offering your child a small morsel or slice of food to taste before giving them a mouthful. Don’t forget to praise your kid for his small efforts. You can even consume some of the food to show that you like it too. This will encourage them to try it. Before giving the same food, wait a few days as it may sometimes take more than ten trials for your child to accept it.

5. Learn about proper nutrition and follow accordingly

Every child requires a balanced diet that includes items from all the food groups: vegetables and fruits, whole grains, dairy, and proteins. Too much milk or juice may hamper your child's appetite. In addition, you should avoid milk at night because it may interfere with the child’s appetite in the morning. You may also consult a doctor about what’s a healthy diet for your fussy eater child

6. Respect your child's decisions

Allow your child to make decisions where appropriate. Give them the option, for example, to select between two vegetables. In other situations, you should let them decide if they don’t want to eat certain foods or complete meals. Also, offer them other foods they might not enjoy and encourage them to try that too. If your kid denies it, say, "Try it. It's tasty." Then, if they still disagree, speak gently, 'Okay, we'll try it again when you're ready to eat.’

7. Ask your child to help prepare a meal

You may engage your child in meal preparation by allowing them to wash vegetables and fruits, pour, mix, and do other simple chores, depending on their age. If the child participates in the dish preparation, it might encourage them to try it. They will, most likely, enjoy helping you arrange the table as well.

picky eater

While every parent tries to ensure their little one consumes a well-balanced diet, in case you notice signs of nutritional deficiency in your child, consult a specialist.

Consult an Apollo Paediatrician

 

Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.

 

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