Fussy eaters can wreak havoc with mealtime. As they grow up, kids can feel like not having a bite to eat, which can be really frustrating.
Understanding why your child has suddenly become such a picky eater is the first step to deal with this situation, which sometimes lasts for years.
Do you want to know why your little one is refusing every new plateful you are presenting him with? If so, keep reading to learn the best information and tips to stop the drama at the table.
Instilling healthy habits on fussy eaters
As kids, we learn things that will mark us for life. Of course, this applies to the way we eat, and that's why it's so important to start having healthy foods from an early age. Keeping a balanced diet not only will ensure a healthy development, but also prevent your child from getting diseases, such as obesity, hypertension and atherosclerosis, among others. Keep in mind that instilling healthy eating habits is a gradual process that will change depending on your kid's age and needs. As a mummy, you need to introduce healthy and varied foods early on so your children gets used to the different flavours, otherwise you will soon be dealing with fussy eaters!
Fussy eaters: Why isn't he eating?
Fussy eaters can struggle during meals for several reasons, and your mission is to identify them, so that your child can find food appetising. If you are wondering why he turns against almost all you serve him, consider:
- The transition to solids: some babies have a bad time getting used to solid foods, and such a transition can have consequences in the future when not done properly. For example, not feeding him different purees and foods at an early age can make him less open-minded to embrace a balanced diet within the next few years. Also, remember that after they turn one year old, babies grow up at a lower pace and they don't need to eat as much. So no, there's nothing wrong with your kid.
- Smaller portions: It's easy to miscalculate the amount of food that your child needs. Some parents have delusional expectations about it, since they give their kids outrageous portions that no child would take.
- A tense atmosphere: falling into despair and having a temper won't work when facing a fussy eater. What's more, it will make the problem worse!
- Snacking: It's hard to say not to your child. His tummy doesn't seem to 'respect' schedules, so he may want to satisfy it by having a snack, often far from being healthy. As a result, he may not be hungry at mealtimes.
Fussy eaters: You are in charge
Dealing with fussy eaters isn't easy. No matter how adamant you get, if he doesn't feel like eating, he won't. Don't make the mistake of nagging him, because that may create the opposite effect. That being said, there are ways through which you could encourage your child to eat, though they require discipline... and patience! Why don't you try:
- Setting an eating schedule: the best way to establish good eating habits starts by having regular schedules and avoiding snacks in between. These can be temptive for your kids, but you need to be firm about when they can have them. Otherwise, 'food anarchy' will rule your house.
- Serving a varied menu: it's pretty common for children not to get adventurous with new dishes, especially if they contain foods that they tend to refuse. If your experiment fails, don't back off and wait a few days before you try again, maybe by cooking them differently.
- Keeping your kids focused: a lot of parents decide to keep their kids entertained during mealtimes, and that's not the best idea. Watching TV or playing with their phones, in case they have one, can be very distracting. If you really want them to understand what this is about, separate mealtimes from any other activities.
Hiding vegetables, an easy trick!
We all have seen that typical picture or a scene, from a film, in which there's a sad kid sitting in front of a dish full of green beans and having the worst time of his life. Indeed, children seem to have an issue with vegetables, it's not a myth, and you'll be able to tell. Fortunately, the art of cooking includes recipes for fussy eaters that are mostly based on hiding vegetables.
Here are some interesting kid-friendly recipes for you to try:
- Asparagus pizza
- Candied baby carrots
- Fish cakes
- Cheesy spinach squares
- Vegetable-chopped salad
- Fruit pops
What not to do when dealing with fussy eaters
As pointed out earlier, the worst thing you can do is put up a fight against a fussy eater. Experts claim that not pressuring him at all to eat makes the whole process a lot easier. Also, don't set too many rules during mealtimes, like not playing with the spoon, sitting properly and not getting messy. That may overwhelm him and result in general rejection.
One of the most common but biggest mistakes that parents make consists in avoiding conflict by feeding their kids their favourite foods. Remember, you need to be in charge and make sure to provide them with a balanced diet!
As you can see, fussy eaters can be a pain in the neck, but you can't let them win. That doesn't mean you need to become angry and overbearing, but have a way with your child. Again, be patient, creative and firm without losing your temper.