Tips On How To Deal With Picky Eaters

1. Don’t force :

If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack. Likewise, don't bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate. This might only reinforce a power struggle over food. In addition, your child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration or become less sensitive to his or her own hunger and fullness cues.

2. Small Portions:

Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more.

3. Same time every day:

Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. Allowing your child to fill up on juice, milk or snacks throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.

4. May need repeated exposure:

Young children often touch or smell new foods and might even put tiny bits in their mouth and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite.

5. Talk about their interest:

Encourage your child by talking about a food's color, shape, aroma, and texture and not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child's favorite foods.

6. Attractive shapes and colors:

Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast food for dinner. Serve a variety of brightly colored foods.

8. Set example:

If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

9. Serve good foods with favorites:

Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereals with fruit slices or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups.

10. No distractions:

Turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals. This will help your child focus on eating. Keep in mind that television advertising might also encourage your child to desire sugary or less nutritious foods.

11. Desserts:

Withholding desserts sends the message that dessert is the best food, which might only increase your child's desire for sweets. You might select one night a week as dessert nights. Try to redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.

12. No separate meal:

Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime even if he or she doesn't eat. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.

13. Contact your child’s doctor:

If you are concerned that picky eating is compromising your child's growth and development, consult your child's doctor. He or she can plot your child's growth on a growth chart. In addition, consider recording the types and amounts of food your child eats for three days. The big picture might help ease your worries. A food log can also help your child's doctor determine any problems.

In the meantime, remember that your child's eating habits won't likely change overnight-- but the small steps you take each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating.

 

By: Dr. Arvind Sindwani
Specialist Pediatrics,
Thumbay Clinic Elite, Rashidiya, Ajman

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