This topic is my favourite and also the most asked one, as moms are always worried about children’s diet. I have received so many queries regarding this one so here is the answer to the popular question.
Given I have 2 kids with food both are so different. Ashwika loves trying different cuisines and enjoys eating, whereas Ribhav is such a fussy eater. It was quite a task to make him eat. So, these tips are tested on Ribhav :)
Honestly, I think I am quite a cruel mom as my favourite is the “Starving” one as he changes and sits on his food table when he is hungry so initially it used to surprise me but now, I have become cool about it. Sometimes this is tough as you feel guilty but now looking at the result I don’t feel guilty anymore.
Dealing with fussy eaters can be challenging, but there are several innovative tips and strategies you can try to encourage more adventurous eating habits. Here are some suggestions:
1. Make Food Fun: Present food in creative and visually appealing ways. Use cookie cutters to shape fruits and vegetables into fun shapes
2. Involve Them in Meal Preparation: take them grocery shopping and let them pick out fruits, vegetables, or other ingredients they find interesting. Involvement in cooking can increase their interest in trying new foods.
3. Create a Tasting Chart or Food Adventure Game: Make a chart or a game where they can mark off or earn points for trying new foods.
4. Offer Choices: Offer two or three different healthy choices that they can select from.
5. Mix Familiar and New Foods: Combine new foods with ones they already like. For instance, mix a new vegetable into a pasta dish.
6. Be Patient and Persistent: Avoid forcing them to eat or making mealtimes stressful, as this could worsen their aversion to certain foods.
7. Lead by Example: Show your enthusiasm and enjoyment of various foods. Kids often mimic their parents’ behavior.
8. Food Exploration: Encourage exploration by using all their senses. Let them touch, smell, and describe the foods before tasting them.
9. Storytelling and Role Play: Create stories or engage in role-playing games where the characters or scenarios involve trying new foods.
10. Dip and Sauce Options: Offer healthy dips or sauces that they can use to accompany new foods.
11. Make a Food Critic Game: Encourage them to critique or rate new foods they try. This could involve rating the taste, texture, or color. It makes trying new foods feel like a game rather than a challenge.
12. Cooking Challenges: Have cooking challenges where they are the judges. Ask them to taste and evaluate different dishes you or they have prepared.
13. Seek Professional Advice if Necessary: If fussy eating significantly impacts a child's growth or nutrition, or if it's causing considerable stress, consider seeking advice from a pediatrician, nutritionist, or child psychologist who specializes in feeding issues.
14. Colorful Plate Challenge: Challenge them to create the most colorful plate using a variety of foods of different colors.
15. Food Memory Game: Create a memory game with cards featuring pictures or names of different foods.
1. Avoid Bribing: Using rewards solely as a means to get a child to eat can sometimes reinforce picky eating habits. However, positive reinforcement for trying new foods or eating a well-rounded meal in a non-coercive manner can be effective. It's essential to strike a balance and encourage healthy eating without solely relying on rewards.
2. Physical Activities and Appetite: Engaging children in physical activities is great for their overall health, but it might not necessarily make them more inclined to eat. While exercise can stimulate appetite for some, it's not a guaranteed method for every child. Instead, ensure a well-timed meal after physical activities to replenish energy.
3. Self-Feeding: Allowing children to self-feed encourages independence and can positively influence their relationship with food. It's okay for them to make a mess while learning to feed themselves; it's part of the learning process.
4. Pretend Play with Kitchen Sets: Role-playing with kitchen sets can indeed encourage food exposure and help children become more comfortable around different foods. It allows them to explore and familiarize themselves with various food items in a fun and non-threatening way.
5. Modeling Healthy Behavior: Demonstrating positive eating habits, including taking second helpings of veggies and discussing their benefits, can influence children positively. Creating stories around vegetables or foods can make them more appealing and relatable to the child.
It's important to remember that every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It's crucial to be patient and persistent when introducing new foods or habits. Additionally, maintaining a positive and stress-free mealtime environment can greatly impact a child's willingness to try new foods. Combining these strategies with patience, consistency, and encouragement can help develop healthier eating habits in children over time.
Also for the complete video with an explanation, check out my YouTube channel link...Do watch out ...Share your views about it and add them in the comment box if I have missed any